Major Mistakes

Thinking of changing your major? A reassuring testimony for the confused and misguided.

Illustrator: Peyton Garcia

You can learn a lot by sifting through somebody’s Facebook page. Michael Mossaad, a 2014 graduate of the U, is no exception to this—at least not completely. Scrolling down Mossaad’s timeline, you will find several shared posts from the Minnesota Orchestra Facebook page. You will even come across an article titled “What Your Favorite Composer Says About You.” So, when I tell you that Mossaad was a music major, it may not come as a surprise to you—but could you have guessed that Mossaad started out as a biology major?

Changing majors can be daunting. The process echoes of a ceaseless chorus of “are you
sure?” and faint whispers of “but what if…” When we declare our majors, it almost feels as though we are signing a binding contract. Even changes that are less drastic, like switching from biochemistry to biology, require some threshold of boldness. So, how did Mossaad manage to come to this reevaluation? “Our [Mossaad’s family] three career choices are doctor, engineer, and lawyer. I liked the sciences in high school, so I figured I’d just do that. During my freshman year of college, I was also taking band and flute lessons. I had very supportive teachers who asked me if I ever considered studying music which had never crossed my mind. I am also very passionate about church music and researching, understanding, and preserving it, so this gave me the opportunity to do more work in that area,” Mossaad explained.

CLA’s tagline “shattering expectations” could not be more appropriate. It is far too easy to choose a major based on expectations, whether familial, societal, or otherwise. Pursuing passion against the grain of expectation is challenging—but help does come. Mossaad’s nudge took the form of an encouraging teacher. If you are looking for yours, take reassurance from Mossaad’s testimony. Let this be your nudge.