Can veterans change college majors, especially as recipients of educational benefits? Granted, we all have off-days, more-difficult-than-usual classes and semesters, and professors who are especially challenging. But when this begins to be a pattern, you might want to start rethinking your college major. Your major should not make all your hair fall out, unless you’re working with radioactive material or are a member of the X-Men. If you’re attending school with Charles Xavier, I want to know, and I demand a school tour.
Remember, only you have the right to decide if a major doesn’t fit your life and goals. If you believe in the major you’ve chosen, no matter the bumps, keep at it – I’m sure Charles Xavier would agree with that statement; he and I were tight back in the days before future past. Dang it, the laugh track must be broken again …
With all that said, this article is aimed at those who are seriously unhappy in their chosen majors. I know it can feel extra difficult for veterans because we have to consider our benefits when changing our college major.
Let’s talk about deciding if it is time to make a change and what impacts you can expect with your benefits.
You forgot to go to class, mostly because the subject and the class are utterly forgettable. You could do the work while drinking whiskey and fixing a motorcycle … one handed, upside-down. Worse, you don’t care because the subject is nap-inducing.
If you’re bored with the work required by your major, you’ll be bored with the work required by an employer in the same field as that major. Boredom does not equal life fulfillment, and neither does it lend itself to professional success. Chew on that.
You haven’t combed your hair for a week because you’ve done nothing but study for your anatomy and physiology class, the one with the professor who has eight hundred syllabus requirements.
We all expect higher education to be challenging, but if it becomes so challenging that every day is a struggle, you have to consider quality of life here.
If you find every waking moment is devoted to thinking about the curriculum in order to just pass, professional life isn’t going to be all that different in that field. You have the right to enjoy what you do. Honest. At the very least, do something where you get to put off the grey hairs for longer.
It feels like pulling teeth to get your coursework done. I mean, you can do it, but your heart isn’t in it and you’ve begun to feel like you’re wasting your life. Everyone tells you that this is the best major to make the big bucks, but you always wanted to design video games instead.
Dreams can be powerful things, and oftentimes they aren’t the path to financial ease – I can tell you that from experience. Yet sometimes they are inescapable. If there is something you’ve always wanted to do and without a chance to do it you feel like a ghost of a human, then you need to go do it. Make a plan and figure out the best and most responsible way you can move toward that dream. Maybe it’s as simple as changing your college major.
Benefits and Financial Considerations
When it comes to the GI Bill, changing your college major may not cause an immediate financial impact. Keep in mind, what GI Bill benefits you’ve burned through already are gone, so you may have to make other financial plans later when the GI Bill runs out. Changing your college major may require that you pay for some of the degree out of pocket or via student loans.
VocRehab tends to be on a case-by-case basis. Keep an open dialogue with your counselor and ask them about the possibility of changing. I’d suggest using your initial career match test, detailing how your new choice is a better fit for both the test-indicated interests and your disability.
Changing your college major will most often result in longer time spent in school, which means more money. Whether it will be in the form of veteran benefits and/or student loans, you should also weigh the financial impact at home.
Questions to Ask Yourself
What are the reasons I chose this major in the first place?
Is there something else I’ve always wanted to do? How do I get there?
How far am I into fulfilling the requirements for the major?
Is it feasible to apply most of the credits I’ve already earned into another degree? (For example, if you are a journalism major, many of your classes may fit into a general English degree.)
What are my professional goals after I’m done with school?
Once you have these answers, you may just have your direction. It may feel like walking uphill, but it may be better than trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. You are the captain of your own ship, and you’ve got this.
But seriously, if you meet Charles Xavier, tell him I want my helmet back.