One of the hardest things going into college involves figuring out your passions and major. Some come in knowing exactly what they are doing with their lives, while others remain clueless. The University of Iowa hosts different job and organization fairs to help guide undecided students toward their interests, but I discovered my interests less conventionally.
I spent my first month of college in an on and off relationship with a guy from back home. In the summer before college, our relationship flourished. On our first date in June he took me to a drive-in movie theater. Cars 3 played in the background as we lay in the bed of his truck under the stars, deep in conversation about our pasts and our excitement for the future.
Once college started, I spent most of my time texting him and watching Netflix. But, eventually the stresses of being two hours apart at different colleges became too much and our personalities just didn’t click as well as they used to. Our feelings changed over the weeks, and when I drove to Ames to see him the weekend of the Iowa vs. Iowa State football game, I realized they had reached a point of no return. Although we were together in the same house, I could feel more distance between us than the first few weeks at college when we were two hours apart.
After the break up, I realized I had spent so much time focused on him that I hadn’t even taken the time to learn the names of the people on my floor. It hadn’t seemed that important. But now I was very aware of how alone I’d become. I decided to get to know other people on my floor. One in particular caught my attention: a guy standing in the hallway, talking on the phone.
We struck up a small conversation, and I learned his name. Naturally, I then found him on social media, in order to learn more about him. I followed him on Twitter, where I noticed he had a link to his blog, so I clicked on it and read it.
The first post I read involved the time he took a trip to New York City with his family. He talked about the different places he saw, but I really focused on how he talked about the kinds of people he ran into. His post described the different run-ins he had with New York City’s natives, like the guy that told them about his military background after meeting them for only a few minutes.
The honesty and rawness of a story from a stranger snagged my interest, and the wheels in my head started turning. I already had a passion for writing and journalism, but I hadn’t figured out what I enjoyed writing about. After reading his blog, something clicked and I finally put my finger on where my passion lay. How cool would it be to just write about people for the rest of my life? Not just people here in the U.S., but people all over the world. I wanted to travel and learn about the diverse people that occupy this earth. And I didn’t want to just write about how they look or how their culture works—I wanted to get into what they think, what makes them who they are, their likes, dislikes, struggles, happiest moments, fears and anything else that in their minds.
But how could I write about people if I didn’t understand how they think? I knew I could learn that through psychology. As simple as that, I’d decided my second area of study. The next week, I went to see my advisor and officially declared psychology as my second major.
I never expected for my curiosity about a guy to reveal my interest in psychology. My major won’t be a walk in the park and traveling to write about people won’t happen straight out of college, but I’m ready to take on the challenge of pursuing my passion.