In this ongoing advice column, former UGS students who have transferred into their new major help current students navigate major exploration, the internal transfer process, and more.
Dear UGS Alumni Guide,
How did you decide on a major? What resources did you use to get there?
Hi all, my name is Angie!
I’m a fourth-year advertising major from Dallas, Texas, and when I first started at The University of Texas at Austin I didn’t really know about UGS. I was part the group of students who were placed in the School of Undergraduate Studies after being denied a first-choice major. I really saw my major as a secondary, lower option. But, after seeking out resources and exploring different majors, I love UGS and see the benefit of being undeclared.
My first transfer was into corporate communication. This major is essentially general communication studies with a concentration in how to communicate with large organizations. I could end up in business, non-profit work, higher education, or any number of fields. However, corporate communication was a bad fit for me because it was too general – but it was a step in the right direction.
From there, I did what all communication majors do, I took a course in communication but outside of my major. I chose ADV 318J – Introduction to Advertising – because a good friend of mine said I would like it. This one class changed my whole trajectory. After a semester, I switched into advertising, and now I even have a concentration within it called TexasMedia. I don’t say this to you as a triumph, I say it as only part of my whole story.
What this doesn’t convey are the countless hours I spent studying for and failing Calculus 2 my freshman year. It doesn’t tell you about the countless phone calls with friends and family that I spent crying about my unknown future. This story is just that, a story – and it’s one that everyone will tell you. I seriously LOVE my major now, but I don’t want you to think it came easy.
In fact, that’s my advice to you: don’t expect anything truly great to come easily. That’s not how life works and it’s certainly not how UT works.
I advise meet with a career counselor at the Vick Center and discuss the self-assessments available. Go out of your way to attend speaker events and things in town that interest you (look on bulletin boards in your desired major’s advising office, join an organization in that field, ask around). Try to shadow somebody who does what you want to do (talk to upperclassmen, use LinkedIn to ask a professional for an informational interview, call up a friend in UGS Council and brainstorm together).
Remember that even though you will be working so hard and you may feel like “it’s unfair, why do my friends have majors?” – YOU are the one with the upper hand. In 4 years when you are graduating and figuring out what to do with your huge brain – you will have your experiences from UGS to lean on and be secure in your decisions. Not everybody can say they thought through their “major” decision so thoroughly.
Lastly and most importantly, be open to changing your mind – it was the best decision I ever made.
Advertising, 4th year
P.S. Email me or anybody in UGS if you have questions, nerves, or just want to talk about the new season of Broad City. We went through it all too and we’re here for you.
Dear UGS Alumni Guide is an ongoing advice column in which we publish select responses from our Alumni Guides. Do you have a question for an Alumni Guide? Send them an email for a personal response.