September 2015: I am a freshman, arriving at the school that I've been waiting to move into since I was accepted. The school seemed perfect for me: a small college — half the size of my high school — with a great program for my major. Before the first day of classes, I could already see myself graduating. I could see myself in the school-colored robes and graduation cap, accepting the diploma that I worked hard for over the years.
September 2018: I am a senior at one of the largest universities in the country and have changed my major three times. The vision I've had of my graduation day has been anything but consistent. Everyone else has it figured out: fell in love and stuck with the same school all four years, pursuing the major they've always dreamed of. Sometimes I feel guilty that I've burdened my family with the many drastic changes I've made throughout my academic career. Sometimes I feel frustrated that I wasn't able to figure it all out in the first place.
Despite the stress and frustration that I've dealt with on my journey, I also feel some relief. I remember thinking how awful it would be to change schools, and I hoped that I would never have to be in that situation. The process wasn't exactly fun — but I know I did what was best for me and my future.
When I look back at my freshman self, I'm glad I didn't force myself into a situation that wasn't going to help me or give me the future that I want. The first school I went to was a great school with great professors and academics — it just wasn't the school for me. Even though I was scared and ashamed, I still took the time to figure out what I needed to do rather than forcing myself to continue. Where I am now feels right, and I'm happy with how things are turning out for me.
College isn't cheap and life is too short — if you have to figure stuff out, then figure stuff out. Don't put your time and energy into something that will pave the way for a miserable future for you. If you find yourself thinking that you wish things were different, do something about it. College is the time to figure yourself out. Just because your life doesn't go as you've imagined it doesn't mean you've done anything wrong.
It's scary to change and to make change happen, but you may find yourself grateful that you did.