Ask Natalie: what do I do if I don’t get into my major?

“Dear Natalie,

I didnt get into my major. I feel like I’ve worked really hard, maybe not ‘ignore everything else in my life and study 24/7’ hard, but a solid amount that I’m happy with. Well, was happy with it. What do I do? I got my third choice (my top two choices were pretty competitive) but it’s not really what I want to do.”

Straight up, major selection isn’t my forté and like all course-related questions, I’m not your course advisor, so go to your faculty advising. But I can help with some of the broader elements of this.

Your timing tells me that you’re most likely a science student. If this is the case, then you can re-apply next year. Other than a few majors, it looks like there are spaces set aside for upper years.

If you feel in your heart of hearts that your top major is the major you truly want to do then go for it. Try to register for your dream major’s required courses and work hard. I’m not telling you to start working at a “ignore everything” level, because that’s not healthy and that’s what causes burnout. Just remember what you’re working towards and work harder than you had before. Find a study group or hire a tutor if you need to and can afford to for the classes you need serious help in. Go to office hours. Talk to your professor and TAs. Work hard and work smart.

This sucks, I know. It’s hard being told you didn’t get something you really want. But that’s a part of life. Not to say it doesn’t suck every time, but take this as a learning experience, not a discouraging one. This might feel like this is on you, but if you worked hard and tried your best, then it’s not on you. Things happen. You can’t win 100 per cent of the time.

This isn’t a failure, because you haven’t failed, but learn from this. Coping mechanisms are important and this is not a bad time to tune them up a bit. This isn’t the end, so start moving forwards.


I’m doing long distance with my girlfriend this summer and it’s very shitty of me, but I want to break up with her. I’m tired of the Skype calls and the texts and the snaps and being concerned if she’ll be upset if I go out with my friends and all that shit. I want to break it off. I’m tired of this. I just want it to end. But, breaking up over the phone, that seems like a step too far. Help?”

Oh yeah, don’t break up with her over the phone. How far is long distance for you? If it’s more than a day’s car trip, you can justify breaking up over video call. It’s still shitty, but to be completely honest, almost all break ups are shitty. All you can do is try to make it as least shitty as possible.

I know a lot of people would argue against breaking up while doing long distance, but we’re not even half way through the summer. It’s only going to get worse. It’s going to get way worse. If you’re not willing to work on the relationship — which, I want to be clear, is okay, relationships that end always reach that point — than you playing along for the next two months is going to be a lot worse than ending things now.

So, if you can visit, do it in person. Rent a car if you have to and get your butt up there. Don’t invite her down, don’t make it into a huge trip, just go. Drive safe and make sure you pull over if you become too emotional to drive (also an okay thing).

If it would be a flight you would be taking, don’t do it, unless you already have a trip planned and paid for. It’s not worth it and honestly, I’m sure she would not appreciate either having to host for you while you’re planning on breaking up with her or having you awkwardly hanging out in her house or city after you have broken up with her.

So yes, resign yourself to this being shitty, because again nearly all break-ups are. Video call her and do it. Don’t make it about her or the distance, just make it as clean as possible.

Breaking up always sucks. I’m sorry.

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