College is a path to set a student up for the career they want, and many students come with a major before they attend Iowa State. However, there are times where the major may end up not being in line with the students’ interests.
Throughout their journey at Iowa State, students can either stick with their major or change it as many as five times. Two seniors who have have this experience share the lessons they said they learned.
Logan Coppess, a senior in industrial design, started out double majoring in pre-business and German.
“A lot if it actually kinda had to do with just family and people saying ‘yeah if you don’t really know what you want to do [business] is pretty versatile so you could always try to do that,’” Coppess said. “I guess always kinda wanted to have my own business — at least that was something in the back of my mind.”
Coppess said he was taking classes for a year but had always been thinking about majoring in industrial design program. After taking a tour of the Armory at Iowa State, Coppess said he was “sold” on applying for the industrial program.
“I got to see what was going on with the industrial design program and I knew it was very competitive to get into it along with a lot of other different design majors,” Coppess said. “It seemed like it clicked, I guess.”
The “hands-on” aspect was something that drew Coppess into the major, he said enjoyed activities with that ever since he was a kid. After Coppess made the decision to switch, he said he decided to keep business as a minor.
“There’s a lot of good things about [business] but I feel like I could have done — I guess at the time and even now — I felt like I could’ve probably done a little more with my time here,” Coppess said. “I decided to I guess take the risk and switch majors. It ended up working out, which I know it doesn’t happen to a lot of people though and that’s pretty unfortunate because it’s really difficult to decide what you want to do in life so early on.”
For senior Samantha Vazquez, she said she changed her major five times before ended up in child, adult and family services.
“I started out in genetics,” Vazquez said. “I had a scholarship for Science Bound which is four years full tuition but only in STEM fields and I had the scholarship since 8th grade.”
Vazquez said she switched to between engineering majors several times during her first years.
“I was sticking to STEM and trying to find things that fit somewhat of what I like,” Vazquez said. “[...] So I had a family situation which was why I was staying in STEM because my parents were insistent — although in high school I wanted to drop out of Science Bound because I didn’t like it. I could have looked at other opportunities but that didn’t happen because I was told to stay in it so I did.”
Going through the majors in the STEM field, Vazquez said her grades were dropping because she did not have any interest.
“My grades were not good at all because I was not doing well in classes I didn’t like — I was on the verge of getting kicked out of ISU like twice,” Vazquez said. “But every summer saved me because I took random electives which were in child, adult and family services to get ahead and get better grades.”
After researching majors, Vazquez said she settled on child, adult and family services.
“While I was in construction engineering, I started working at Friendship Ark — which is a facility for adults with special needs — so it was there I realized that I really liked this job and I would love to do something like this for a long time,” Vazquez said.
Vazquez said after making the switch and continuing her job at Friendship Ark made her “fall in love” with the atmosphere while the other majors she tried were because someone told her to try it.
“I wasn’t doing well and so immediately I thought of myself as a failure, and I started going to counseling again and because I wasn’t doing so poorly in school and my parents were yelling at me, I just felt all this pressure and I just wasn’t fun,” Vasquez said. “I almost dropped out of college.”
Coppess and Vasquez said having support systems have helped them go through the major change.
“Sometimes you’re going to have to take risks in life and whether it seems very hard to take those, sometimes you just gotta go for it and be prepared that if it doesn’t work out, it’s going to be alright and you’ll figure something out eventually,” Coppess said. “A lot of times it’s something you wouldn’t expect at all.”