Figuring It Out

I think we all remember when we couldn’t wait to graduate high school. Some of us scheduled college visits, took our SATs (and prayed for passing scores), and impatiently waited for acceptance letters. Some of us planned to enter the work force full time. Some of us enlisted in the military. And some of us had absolutely no idea what we wanted to do. This was the case for me.

The summer after graduation, as most of my friends prepared to leave for college, I prepared to take classes at my community college. I enrolled in basic general education courses. At 18, I had zero clue of what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. In an effort to figure it out, I took numerous electives in addition to general education courses. My second semester of my freshman year I took an introduction to business course and hated it. After scratching that off of my list, I enrolled in an American government course my first semester of my sophomore year, and although I did not hate it, I did not love it either. I decided I did not like government enough to want to pursue a law career. It was in that semester, however, I decided I wanted to major in education. It was in that same semester I began to visit schools. The first school I visited, I fell in love. I decided on Secondary English Education because I really enjoyed reading and writing and had a passion to teach middle school kids. At 20 years old, I decided to transfer to Kutztown University and finally figured out a career I wanted to pursue.

With some missing credits, I would be graduating a semester late. I was completely okay with that. I recognized that not everyone knows what they want to do at 18, and not everyone will earn a degree in four years. This was the case for my boyfriend.

My boyfriend went to community college after high school as well. He was initially a physical education major, and then switched to elementary education. He stayed at community college for two and a half years before transferring. When he transferred, he changed his major to Secondary English Education, which caused him to lose numerous credits. As of now, he will be finished in a year and a half; two years longer than he originally planned, but he is now pursuing a career he desires! He would have been miserable had he stuck with a major he did not like, and he is not the only one.

My sister went away to school last year as a nutrition and dietetics major. She hated the chemistry involved, but wanted to do something with nutrition, so she changed her major to Family and Consumer Science after her first semester. With this career, she could have become a teacher as an option, so she was required to do observation hours. At the end of her first year, she decided she did not want to go that direction. She made the difficult decision to come home and take general education courses at our community college. She is just about to complete her first semester there and has decided to major in hospitality. She will do an additional semester at the community college, and is looking to transfer to Temple University next fall. She knows she will have to do an additional few semesters of school, but she is happy with all of her decisions.

Finally, I offer one more example of someone who also made decisions later in life. My cousin graduated high school a year before me, and attended community college to take general education courses. After her first year ended, she decided she no longer wanted to continue her education. She withdrew and began to work full time. After working full time for a year, she decided she wanted to go back to school for medical coding and billing. She went to school full time for two years (summer sessions included) and even raised a baby in the process. She now works full time and her fiancé, who left school the same time she did, is attending school again as well.

Not everybody knows what they want to do at 18 for the rest of their lives. And that’s okay! If you are not happy with your major, change it! If you are not happy with your school, change it! It is never too late to pursue what makes you happy.