When I started university I knew what I wanted. I wanted to major in English and potentially minor in History. I had spent a year working after I had finished high school which gave me plenty of time to solidify this plan. When course selection came around and I got my course selection package in the mail, it was time to put my life plan into action. I dreamed of taking all English courses with a smattering of History thrown in. It was going to be great (I was blissfully ignoring the reality of the massive amounts of reading that would have required).
However, that was not to be. My university only offered five or six first year English courses, a few of which I had zero interest in taking (I presume this is because my university is on the smaller side, but maybe this is normal? Let me know in the comments). I ended up only taking four English courses in my first year. Although this would fulfill my major requirements, I was a bit disappointed.
After filling in my four English courses and a few History courses, I was left with time slots that I had to fill. I choose two Medieval Studies courses because they seemed kind of like History and mildly appealing. My final selection was a Sociology course that I took merely because it fit nicely into my schedule.
When I started the school year, I was a bit disappointed. I had spent the previous year(s) saving all my money so I could attend university, and I wasn't 100% excited about the courses I would be taking. As the year progressed, I began to get over that initial disappointment and enjoy myself and my wide variety of courses. I realized that there was so much more that I could get out of university than just my English degree. At the end of my exploratory first year, when it came time for me to officially declare my major, I ended up declaring a double major in English and Medieval Studies, with a minor in History. This change of plans was a bit of a shock to myself, but a welcome one.
I'm glad that attending a "smaller" university forced me to take courses that were outside of my comfort zone, and inadvertently gave me a better version of what I thought I wanted. I didn't do a complete 360 and hop into Science or anything crazy like that. I just refined my plan by expanding it. Since I had to take Medieval Studies courses, I was introduced to something completely new and lovely. Not only were my academic horizons widened, but I found something that I truly enjoyed. The same goes for that Sociology course. It wasn't something that I wanted to commit my degree to, but the concepts I learned were applicable in different areas of my life and got me thinking about human issues in different ways. By going beyond my limited plans, I got more out of my first year of university than I had thought possible.
Whenever I talk to perspective students, I can't help but encourage them to try a few courses that sound interesting, but are outside of their desired major. Don't let the plans that you make for yourself limit you from following what you truly want to do. I firmly believe that taking courses in something you love is never a waste of money, but of course I say this with a grain of practicality. For me, time and money aren't limitless things, so university is meant to equip me for a career. Taking this revised degree isn't detracting from that end goal of finding a job, but it is making it so much more enjoyable.
What has your experience been with choosing courses? Or on a more general scale, what has your experience been with changing your plan? Let me know what you think the comments!