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Ask Nelly: Deciding a Major, Big Life Shifts and More

Hi! I'm Nelly, a New School Narwhal here to give you advice about school, career, relationships and just about anything else. Let's see what questions came in this week!

How do I support my friends while making sure I’m taking time for myself? I’ve felt a bit distracted from my school and work responsibilities lately because I want to be there for my friends, and I’m struggling to find a balance between the two. 

Trust me, we have all been there! Since we are nearing the end of the semester it’s easy to let summer vibes slip in a bit earlier than usual with warmer weather beaming brighter and more places opening up since the pandemic started. I think when it comes to making time for yourself, you need to be a little selfish and prioritize your well-being over others, even if they are your friends. I have definitely struggled with maintaining a social life whilst in school and dating—it can be hard to manage but not impossible! 

First thing I do when I am feeling overwhelmed with school, friends and work is make a list. I know it may sound lame but it works. Organization is key to getting back on track with your physical and mental health. 

Step 1: Go through all of your upcoming coursework/final projects and write it down! This will help you be able to visualize how much work you have coming up.

Step 2: Pour yourself your drink of choice, whether that be coffee or tea, and write out the date on the top of your notebook page. 

Step 3: Write out the date and each class with the given work and due dates per class.

Step 4: At the bottom of the page or the page mirroring it, title the top “Notes"—this is where you are going to write down things besides work/school you want/need to get done within that day: going for a jog, calling your close girlfriends, spending quality time with your dog, etc. You are going to put a timeframe on all of these activities to maintain an order to your day. 

Lists are so helpful! They make me feel so much better and organized especially when dealing with finals, friends, and family. Just make sure during the day you give yourself well-needed breaks, like I mentioned above, to workout, to call a girlfriend/boyfriend, or just enjoy the great outdoors! 

Once you have completed everything on your list you can tuck your work away for the night, slap on a face mask (maybe don’t slap it on actually), drink some sparkling water or some nice honey-d-up-tea and snuggle up with a great book. You’re welcome.

 

I just got into a transfer program that would be a real, tangible step towards landing my dream job, something I never thought was possible, but that means leaving behind my current school that I’ve gotten to know, friends I’ve managed to make online and connections with my professors. Not going feels like giving up on a part of myself, but I’m also scared I’ll regret making such a big change if this new school isn’t everything I imagined it to be. 

Wow! First of all, congratulations—that’s incredible. You should be incredibly proud of yourself. Second, consider why you applied to the transfer program. Is there something at your current school that isn’t quite living up to your expectations? What is it about your experience at your current school so far that prompted you to consider other options? Or, rather, what was it about the transfer program that theoretically made your current school worth leaving? 

You gave yourself the opportunity to dream, and now the dream is right in front of you, ready to be grabbed and actualized. This doesn’t happen often. I don’t want to underestimate the current school you’ve gotten to know or your connections with friends and professors, but you’ll never know if your dream can become your reality unless, well, you live it. Moving schools and leaving the foundation you’ve built behind is a big, daunting, and perhaps exhausting step. It’s also a huge, unparalleled opportunity for self-discovery. Dreams are rarely made tangible, so I say take a chance on your dream and run. If anything, it will be an exercise to invest time and energy towards self-growth, which, if it were me, I would never regret. 

Good luck! 

 

If still undecided, how would you go about deciding on a major at Lang? What steps did you go through? What worked/didn’t work throughout your process?

Choosing a major can definitely be a daunting task! But, luckily, this isn’t a choice that you have to make forever. You can technically change your major as many times as you’d like which takes a little pressure off of the decision (though it does get harder to graduate on time the more changes you make). For me, it was mostly about exploring what was out there and reflecting on all my different experiences. I asked myself which classes made me excited to wake up early instead of filled with dread.

Take as many different classes in the majors you might be interested in as possible. More than getting a feel for the subject matter itself, exploring all these different classes exposes you to lots of different professors who have different styles and interpretations of the subject. If you can’t decide between two majors you like equally, think about which professors you’ve connected with most and who might be able to help you in the future. So much of college isn’t just about your classes but about networking. Asking other students in majors you’re considering what they’ve thought of their professors and the major as a whole can also help point you in a possible direction.

Also, checking out the major requirements can provide helpful insight. Some majors have more required classes than others or different types of required classes that offer more or less flexibility. Looking at the requirements, you might realize one subject works better for you as a major or a minor.

Finally, look at the credits that you already have. You might have already completed many of the entry-level courses for a major without even realizing. That could be a good sign to continue pursuing that particular path. 

More than anything, though, I think you just have to trust your gut and be willing to make changes if your first choice isn’t working out how you imagined.

 

Love, Nelly

 

DM @hctns on Instagram with an issue you'd like advice on for the chance to be featured in the next Ask Nelly!

 

If you're interested HCTNS, please e-mail us at hc.newschool@hercampus.com
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