During my senior year of high school I took the SAT three times and applied to eight colleges. I made the decision to apply to these schools based on how I felt about each campus, dorm options, student life and their overall reputations. All these statistics and options almost drove me insane.
But deciding what to major in really made me crazy.
When I decided to attend The Ohio State University, I entered through the Exploration Program. All the people who literally have no idea what they want to do end up here. While looking for a college, I knew I needed a program like this. Growing up, I never wanted to become a doctor or a teacher. During my younger years, I wanted to become a movie star or a singer, so picking a major that would one day lead me to a 9 to 5 job never crossed my radar.
When I picked classes for the first semester of my freshman year I chose pretty much the hardest classes I could take. I thought to myself, “Heck I can take calc, chem and psychology and get all A’s, how hard can it really be?” Well, freshman self, just because you took the hardest classes in high school, does not mean you can take the hardest classes in college and do well. Now I have learned why taking those classes, especially chemistry and psychology, made me want to scream. I genuinely did not care about the course work.
Nothing in either of those classes made me want to study or pay attention in class. Everything word leaving my professors mouth sounded like a complete bore. After getting grades back on exams and labs, I could not understand how people did well in these classes. I figured out that some people just genuinely enjoy the sciences. These people become physicians, dentists and neurosurgeons.
High school didn’t foreshadow the terrors awaiting me in advanced college coursework. But I believed that since I had no idea what I wanted to major in, I could just try to major in what paid the most, what gave you the most ‘respect’ and I would be perfectly happy.
After that semester of grueling coursework and zero fulfillment, I looked like a lost puppy dog. I did not know where I wanted to take my life. Part of me thought that I still wanted to pursue the science route and the other half of me had absolutely no idea what to do. That is, until I went on a college tour of Syracuse University with my brother in the spring of my freshman year.
My brother, a junior in high school, expressed extreme interest in Syracuse because of their Sports Management program. On the tour, we checked out the School of Communication. When I went on the tour of this particular school with my brother and mother, I realized that communications was the exact major I needed in my life. The major never crossed my mind until that very moment on that cold and rainy, spring day in Syracuse, NY.
As soon as the tour ended I looked into the communication majors at Ohio State. One of the majors called the New Media and Communication Technology major instantly caught my eye. I read the description as it started calling my name. The classes in this major included social media, design and persuasive communication—all things that stirred my passions. Growing up I thought pursing anything other than singing and acting would leave me feeling empty. Now I realize that my passions for social media, writing and communicating with others, can land me my dream job as well.
As soon as I decided on this major I started researching minors to take on. I have always loved fashion. I’m obsessed with it. For some reason though, I never thought to make it a part of my job. My new mindset on incorporating my passions into my work helped me to add a fashion and retail studies minor. Through my Business of Fashion class I am taking this semester, I realized how intriguing the business world is–adding another minor in this.
I have realized, especially through my internship in the fashion world this past summer, that post-grad I want to scout a job in the fashion industry. I want to utilize my background in Communication, Fashion and Business to find work that makes me excited everyday, that challenges me and doesn’t let big-dream-elementary-school me down.
Now, I want to tell you three final things. First, you do not need to know where you want your life to go when you first start college. I am the perfect example. During freshmen year, you learn so much about yourself. Take classes that truly interest you, research jobs remembering your passions, go to a college that offers flexibility in not knowing exactly what you want to do and open your mind to paths you may not have considered before.
Second, do not major in a profession that pays well just because of the salary. If you force yourself to roll out of bed to get to the office each morning, you will feel so unhappy, even with a large salary. You can’t fake it till you make it with this one.
Third, don’t beat yourself up for being at a different stage in your life than everyone else. Don’t feel discouraged if your best friend has known what they want to do ever since their third birthday, or you if feel completely lost as a junior in college.
Everyone finds their own path at their own speed. Be patient and continue to learn and grow.