Picture this: You’re 17 years old and you just finished your college applications, never having explored another city on your own. You’ve never been able to take a class on fashion merchandising or ballet or marine science. But, yet, you have your entire life planned out.
Seems like a scam to me. While applying to college, set in my ways, I selected neuroscience- the seemingly perfect degree for a future neurosurgeon. Still not sure where I wanted to continue my studies- I do not suggest applying to 18 schools- I told myself that I was set for life. I needed to get into a top university for undergrad, get an internship in a lab, start working on groundbreaking research, and devote four years of my life to getting a perfect score on the MCAT. Well, let's just say that is not the path I find myself on today.
After getting waitlisted at my dream school, paying my enrollment deposit for the University of Miami, and then getting off the waitlist for my dream school, I realized I didn’t really have any of my life planned out. Ever since I stumbled upon the movie Legally Blonde in first grade, my sights were set for Harvard University. I practically breathed HU before getting accepted. But, when I found myself in the midst of a pandemic and started picturing myself at the University of Miami, I found that it wasn’t in the cards for me to go to Harvard after all. And this feeling is where my contemplation of pretty much everything arised.
After a semester of studying neuroscience and simply getting the grades I needed to remain a top student, I realized that chemistry and calculus were not my passions. I did not want to be looking at a brain for over 30 hours in surgery. But, I told myself that since I was doing good in school it had to be something that I should do. And so, I stuck with it up until the day before the first day of classes second semester. I sat on the beach with my mom and I asked her the question I had shot at a few of my friends before: “Is what you’re doing what you pictured for yourself?”
A little back story, my mom and I are basically a rendition of Gilmore Girls but substitute sweet tea in for the coffee. Her life wasn’t always the most planned out thing in the world but if there's a will, there's a way she says.
She replied to my question with an unexpected answer: “No, but this is the happiest I’ve ever been. I wanted to be a nurse but life put me on a path where I am doing this instead.” That’s exactly what I needed to hear. I knew I wasn’t going to be happy as a neurosurgeon or balancing equations for hours on end. So, we talked and found out I had all along wanted to be a lawyer or government official or some sort of politician. And alas, the day before classes started, I changed my major to political science.
Obviously, I was freaking out by contacting my advisor, dropping all of my current enrollment classes, reaching out to other poli sci students, etc. I had no idea what I was doing, but the question arose, did I ever? Now I didn’t know what I was doing regarding something that I actually was interested and could see myself doing.
Somehow, I managed to get switched into everything that I needed to and worked it all out. I know it may sound cliche but I love what I’m doing now. And get this, I finally found that internship I was looking for- not in a scientific lab, but in a legislative lab. So, sometimes all it takes is stepping out of your comfort zone, releasing yourself from the grips of your own expectations, and allowing yourself to try new things. I know it's scary, but don’t waste your life while you’re in your prime chasing something you know won’t make you happy. Your life is a big deal: change your major, find a new group of people to hang with, explore different career paths. If you’re reading this and pondering changing your major, DO IT! This is your sign!