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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!

Brittani is a current freshman, studying political science, at the University of Miami. Aside from reading, you can catch her at the beach soaking in the sun, trying out fun exercises, or making tik-toks.
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