I’m known to change my mind about a thousand times before I land on my final decisions. It’s one of my red flags; I’ve been trying to work on it. When it came to choosing my major, one of the most important parts of my college journey, I went through every possible option. I wanted to run my own bakery, have my own photography studio, explore psychology, the list truly goes on and on. When it came to applying to college, I’m given the option of undecided. This seems perfect, right? I mean I spent my entire high school years undecided about what I wanted to major in and now I’m given the option to stay this way for two more years. I simply cannot live with the idea of an undecided major, so when it came down to it, I felt obligated to decide. Ever since I could remember, I loved the idea of being a teacher. My mom would always buy me white boards and clipboards so I could play pretend. It wasn’t difficult to declare my major as education.
I felt like I reached the final decision.
That was the catch, it had been perfectly fine when it was pretend, but once I started school, it quickly became the worst semester of my life. I began to struggle in all my classes. Any assignment connected to my major, I would panic at the thought of having to turn it in. At first, I thought this feeling was all part of the experience. College is supposed to be hard. In high school, the idea that college was difficult is all we ever heard. So, I sucked it up. I kept telling myself “This is how it’s supposed to be;” “Don’t switch majors, it’ll screw everything up.” Eventually, I reached my breaking point. It just so happened to arrive the day before the start of my second semester.
A week before the start of the second semester, I was reading a book called “Normal People” by Sally Rooney. I got to the part where the female protagonist, Marianne, questions the male protagonist, Connell, about the major he chose. Connell, in a depressed tone, tells Marianne he chose law. It’s what would pay. It was a stable career. This particular part stuck with me because Connell always wanted to pursue English. Like the Leo I am, I thought about myself, I’m in a similar situation to Connell. I’ve always loved English and literature.
When I was younger, I would write letters based on movies I would watch or based on something I had read in school. The older I got; you would never catch me without a book in my hand. Truly I owe it all to my mother who raised me in a home where one day I would be walking down the corridors of Hogwarts, and the other I would be in a town in Washington attending school with a family of vampires. I never doubted for a second the love and passion I had for English. But when I would bring up the possibility of pursuing English, I would always get the same response. “What are you going to do with that?” It made me doubt myself. It made me put my passion on hold. Reading that part, I began to feel a tightness in my chest. I suffer from anxiety attacks, so I didn’t think much of it. This was different. I felt it in my whole body, my mind started racing. I thought about the past semester.
I began to think about my academic future; I saw myself pursuing English.
The day before the second semester, I was sitting in my living room just staring at my laptop. I started to feel the tightness in my chest again, and this time my whole body started shaking. My hands shook as they hovered over the keyboard. That’s when I broke down. My mom approached me, and I started venting. I told her I wanted to study English, and all she could do was laugh and say, “Then do it.” I looked up in shock. I spent a majority of my high school and college life afraid to do this. Here was my mom, looking at me with her smile that fixes everything, telling me that it’s okay to do this. Right away I typed the email to my counselor, and we got to work the next day. This dilemma I faced for an entire semester, fixed in 10 minutes.
I’m now in my third year of college as an English major and it’s still difficult.
I didn’t expect it to become easy overnight, obviously. I can say this, the tightness in my chest finally disappeared. The struggle remains, and sometimes I still doubt myself. However, at the end of the day, I’m finally happy. I’ve finally reached the final decision. No one said it would be easy, but I’m getting myself through it.