Whether you came to college completely dead-set on the major you entered with, or you came in undecided, we all have had moments of questioning our career choice. The freshman class of 2020 was predicted to change majors six times according to Saint Louis University, and while that may be scary, there are many reasons why we were the class predicted to make the most changes! With job markets rapidly transforming due to COVID-19, and the largest presence of technology in our society than ever before, we have so many options for careers available right at our fingertips.
Personally, I started college as a nursing major, completely convinced that I was going to become a neonatal nurse in four years. However, I quickly realized that I was not the type of person that would excel as a nurse because of the lack of administrative ability and respect in most environments. From there, I changed into health sciences, focusing on physical therapy. As someone who has always loved being creative and socializing, trying to jump into a career in science was harder than I imagined. This ultimately led me to follow my dreams and switch to a marketing major. This decision was absolutely the best choice I could have ever made, but I was definitely scared to do this—as are a lot of people. I was afraid of the following things:
1. I did not want to let my family down.
As a first generation college student, coming from a single-parent household, I was completely afraid that I would upset others by changing majors again. I was afraid that the people that I love the most would not understand why it felt wrong for me to go into the medical field, and that I wanted to turn my passions into my career. In addition, I was afraid that people around me would be embarrassed of my indecisiveness about my future career.
But, I realized that I am only a freshman in college, and a freshman who is involved in so many groups that I am passionate about, such as my sorority. I am a hard worker in everything that I do, and will absolutely work hard in whatever career field I do choose. My family (and your loved ones) notice that within us: how hard we work or what we are passionate for. While I could say that you should take all advice from your family or that you should make your life decisions based on other people’s dreams for you, the only thing you could regret is making a choice for someone other than yourself!
2. I wanted to have a financially-secure future.
It is common knowledge that doctors, physical therapists and most medical professionals make a stable salary. Coming from a middle-class family, my dream is to have enough money to support my entire family and have enough left over for large purchases.
The truth is, you can get a well paying job in any field, but money should not be your determining factor. Money pays the bills, but at the end of the day, you want to come home happy and go to work excited.
All in all, finding a fulfilling career doesn’t mean that you need to find the highest-paying career.
3. I only knew the stigma around my desired field.
I don’t know a single person in my family who has been a marketing major, so the people that I was looking to for advice had no firsthand experiences. I was told that marketing is a boring field, that they don’t make much money and that people hate marketers. These opinions initially made me run the other direction, but I soon realized they had no truth to them.
Once I started talking to people who were actually in the business field, I was told that marketing is an amazing creative outlet, that there are so many subcategories within the marketing field and that you can make as much money as you want in marketing jobs. Without the opinions of real marketers, I don’t think I would have ever changed my mind.
Looking back on all of these reasons, it is completely understandable to have a fear of the unknown. But do not let fear keep you from pursuing your dreams and reaching for new goals.
Change is scary, especially when the change is from something comfortable to something uncomfortable. A new friend of mine told me, “You will never disappoint people if you are doing what you love. At the end of the day, your family and friends want what is best for you. And it is completely normal to not know what you want to do at first, choosing what to do for the rest of your life is a big decision.”
As a new marketing major and someone who hid behind these three fears for a year, you should know that you can change whenever you want and to whatever you want. You are capable, smart and amazing, regardless of what fear may tell you. If I could do it, so can you!