By Emanuel Ortiz
Changing majors while in college should never be discouraging, but instead be looked at as figuring out which staircase will lead you to the top.
Katherine Domenichella, a Fitchburg State University graduate, looks back at her stay at the university and how her decision to change her major impacted her future.
When asked about her stay at the university before her graduation, Domenichella said, “When I was a freshman, I played field hockey my first semester and didn’t care about school. It wasn’t until I was a second semester freshman that my mindset changed and I had to figure it out quick.” She joined Fitchburg State University as a psychology major but after a semester, quickly realized that she might have been heading the wrong direction.
“I didn’t do well in my General Psychology class so I didn’t want to waste my time in classes that didn’t interest me as I thought they had in high school when I took a psych class as an elective,” she explains. Deciding your future after high school can be a difficult decision and many students find themselves changing majors after realizing it’s not what they expected. On top of making this difficult decision to change out of a major, they have to, essentially start from square one. They often have a question mark in the back of their mind as to whether or not they made the right choice.
Domenichella, however, never had these thoughts but admits it was initially a difficult decision. “I never once regretted my decision to switch to English Studies. I think that if I had regretted it, I would not be where I am today. Was it hard, yes.”
The change from psychology to English seemed like an odd jump for the average student to understand. It wasn’t, however, too crazy of a jump for Domenichella. As an elementary student, she recalls reading all the books she could get her hands on. She would visit the library two to three times a week in order to check out more books.
“It was actually my mom who mentioned English. She had always said that I had a knack for writing and editing, as well as reading,” Domenichella said. English is what Domenichella was truly passionate about and ultimately decided to change majors after finding out psychology wasn’t working. Being only one semester in, Domenichella didn’t feel as though the decision to take psychology affected her at all. She was still a freshman starting a new major. It’s important to realize if you’re not happy with your major, switch before you commit too much time into something that you don’t want to do.
Domenichella didn’t just switch and stay stagnant. She moved. “I ran and helped manage three publications,” she said. “I became a tutor my last year and tutored 20 students on top of my own schoolwork, and I completed two internships which were not required for my major.” She even forgot to mention working part time back home over the weekend. She kept herself busy because she wanted to succeed. Her plan was to change majors and make the most of it. This was a new beginning for her and she wanted to start off on the right foot.
Her switch definitely paid off in the end. Just two weeks after receiving her diploma from Fitchburg State, she was hired as a technical editor at Analog Devices Inc. Here, she edits, formats, and prepares company documentation for web posting, including technical data sheets and application notes. “What I love the most about what I do now is that I’m a project manager,” she said. “When I did my final internship of my undergraduate career, I admired my mentor who was a project manager.” Now she’s in the position she wanted to be, just two weeks of finishing school. Domenichella proved that although she made a switch in majors, her dedication and good work ethic drove her success ultimately getting her the job.
“Changing your major does not mean you gave up, or you couldn’t do it, it just simply means you will excel at something else, something that is much more you,” she said.