It’s never too late to change your mind, or your major


“If I never took the chance, I would never know what could happen,” says Manylen Bunchean, who changed her major junior year.

By Manylen Bunchean

In my four years at UIC, I have learned and grown a lot.

I started my freshman year with very clear goals: majoring in biochemistry, going to medical school, then becoming a pediatrician. It wasn’t until I took an English class my sophomore year that I started to question that path.

I really believed that I loved science. In my American high school, I did really well in science and math classes.

Coming from a Cambodian high school where there’s no science laboratory for students to do experiments, I was fascinated by how cool it was to dissect a pig and frog in biology or make solutions in chemistry.

As an English as a second language student who speaks with an accent and writes with grammatical errors, it’s a safer route to major in something related to science.

My sophomore year, I developed a new interest in one of my general education classes, English 109. Through that class, I wrote my first short story. I really enjoyed that class, and my love of reading novels has grown tremendously.

Junior year I had a wake-up call that science was not my thing; it is not what I want to do. What I want to do is to major in English, write stories, share stories about my culture and my background through writing, travel and learn about other cultures and write about them.

But I felt scared to face myself, to face the truth that I am not a science kind of person or that I want to do something that is not related with science. I was about to graduate. I was scared that if I major in something not related to science, I wouldn’t be able to get a job once I graduate. I felt that it was too late to start it again.

It took me a long time before deciding to declare English as a major.

However, once I was an English major, I felt happy. I felt like I found my goal and my direction in life again. I felt motivated and enjoyed studying.

I love all my English classes, even though some are hard. I find myself doing things that are productive, instead of wasting time watching movies and sleeping. I started looking and applying for internships and undergraduate research experience relating to writing.

It was not easy for me to go through the ups and downs of changing my course of study.  I’m still scared of taking chances or what will happen if I fail.

But if I never took that chance, I would never know what could happen. Sometimes you have to give yourself a chance, free yourself from others’ expectations and be happy about who you are.

It’s never too late to do things you want to do.

• Manylen Bunchean is a senior in English and biology. Reach her at

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