Now, more than ever, there is pressure placed on young people to know exactly what they're doing with their lives. We are expected to go to college directly after high school. We are expected to choose a college or university based upon a major. Therefore, it is assumed that by the age of 18 we know how we want to spend every day of the rest of our lives.
I spent my entire high school career believing I would make a career in health science. I chose to attend Butler University largely because I knew for certain I wanted to work in health care administration and Butler has a Health Care and Business major. But after only a couple of months into my first year of college, I knew something was not right.
I have always been a school-oriented, focused person. I have always had a passion for learning that made working hard worth the fight, worth the exhaustion. Somehow, my first year of college I lost this part of my identity. I find myself hating going to classes, hating school in a way I had never experienced. I would study for hours on end, yet for some reason, I was not absorbing any material.
As the 2016 presidential election came around, I found myself becoming physically ill. I could not sleep well, but I also could not make myself get out of bed. My mind was fuzzy, my soul hurt, and I would spend hours sitting next to the toilet dry heaving.
One day it hit me that this sickness was coming from within. I realized that while I had no motivation to attend chemistry or econ, there was one class I never wanted to miss. There was one class that I enjoyed doing the work for- my first-year seminar called "Women Writing the World." While I was struggling in all the classes for my major, I was passing my FYS with flying colors.
I did some soul searching and realized that I could not be successful in something that I was not passionate about. It wasn't that I didn't care about my major, or didn't think it was important, but I think I was interested in that field for all the wrong reasons. I think I cared more about the title and money than about my happiness. And so I began researching careers that I might be interested and eventually came across a major that better suited me- Peace and Conflict Studies.
I can't lie, changing majors was one of the most difficult decisions I ever made. I felt like a failure. I was scared of telling my parents because I didn't want them to be disappointed. I was terrified to abandon an area of study that I had become so comfortable in. But the fear of spending the rest of my life putting my passions aside was far worse than any of the other fears.
After only a semester of new classes, I felt like an entirely new person. I felt like I had removed a mask that I had been wearing for 18 years. Eventually, I added Political Science as a second major and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies as a minor. Now, my grades are best they have ever been. I once again love school and love my classes more than anything. I've remembered how to be me.
There is a stigma surrounding the liberal arts. Most people believe you cannot find a quality career in fields like mine. But here I am, two years later disproving that misconception. Last summer I was honored with an incredible internship with diversity and inclusion where I was able to apply my passion in the real world.
So here I am telling you, if you are scared, take the leap. Explore other options. Breathe and remember that you have time. Your education is one of the most important decisions you'll make in your life so take the time to get it right.
Sometimes, admitting defeat is the greatest success you will achieve.