I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s 11:30 as I stare at my recent paper topic for one of my classes. The second semester of freshman year is setting in and I’m not sure if it’s the grande latte I just finished or the complexity of this paper topic, but I’m suddenly second-guessing the path I have made for myself.
Is this what I’m actually going to do for the rest of my life?
If I had a dollar every time I asked this, I probably would’ve already kissed the sleep-deprived, coffee addicted, tragically broke student days behind.
You probably would have already done the same. Being confused about what you want to do with your life is all too well known for college students, especially first-year students. If you’re like me, it’s terrifying. Absolutely, terrifying. No one really likes change and being confused at the moment is okay.
If it impacts your happiness, maybe it’s time to reconsider the path you have started to forge for yourself.
First of all, it’s important to realize that you are not alone if you are feeling confused and uncertain about your future. I haven’t met anyone that really knows exactly what they are going to do with their life. What I’m trying to say is, you aren’t an anomaly. In fact, it is becoming increasingly more popular for individuals to have more than one career in life, let alone change their majors.
Just because you enrolled in a liberal arts major initially doesn’t mean that it’s permanently set in stone for all four years and the rest of eternity.
There are other paths to make for yourself so don’t let yourself get trapped into taking the same one, especially if it isn’t working for you.
I had a friend recently switch paths. He initially started school as an accounting major here at the University of Illinois. By his sophomore year, he came to the realization that this path wasn’t for him. With some recent soul-searching and some inevitable conversations with parents, he decided to go in the complete opposite direction of his current path. Currently, he is in the process of applying to art schools with the hopes of becoming a fashion design major in the fall.
When he first told me that he was completely switching his career path (accounting and fashion aren’t very closely related) I was a little shocked. Just the sound of making that move was enough to make me beyond intimidated. Sometimes, we spend so much time creating a path for ourselves that it makes abandoning it so much harder.
All this time, hard work and credit hours gave up on. However, if the path you’re making isn’t doing anything for your happiness, to continue making is only going to hurt you down the road.
For my friend, his path of accounting was not doing him much happiness. In fact, he felt miserable and at some points lost. This change needed to happen for him. He needed to love what he was studying and actually enjoy going to class. Although this kind of change is a difficult but doable task, he decided to go for it. The fact that he was able to realize that and make a change is commendable. I don’t know many people that are so in tune with themselves to make a change that big.
Changing your path shouldn’t be about whether or not you ended up wasting your past semesters, your happiness should be the most important thing.
And if anything, those semesters weren’t a waste because, like my friend, you were able to realize what truly motivates and inspires you to set forth into this world.
So, study what you want to study. Take classes that are interesting to you. Switch your major if you need to, or don’t. It’s okay to be interested in one thing at one point in time and then want to switch interests. That’s the whole point of going to school in the first place. We are here to learn after all, and learning doesn’t confine us to one specific path to follow.
In fact, learning allows us to discover who we are, what we want to do, and what we are passionate about.
Over time, those passions can and will change and if you are a first or second year student, now is a great time to embrace that. Bottom line, everyone is going to reach a point in their life where they don’t know what they’re doing. It could be as soon as tonight or this same time next year, who knows? But the important thing to remember is, there is more than one perfectly good path to take out there, in order to get to your next destination.