New Major, New Mindset, New Me

Confessions of a college Junior who changed her major when she was halfway to dental school.

Yep, that’s me! I decided at the end of my sophomore year that biology wasn’t my thing anymore. My first two years of college were spent studying the human body + micro-organisms, performing lab experiments, and calculating seemingly endless data. All of which was fascinating to learn about, but I truly had no interest in doing this for the rest of my life.

I knew coming into college that I would struggle with a science major. Not due to a lack of intelligence, but because I have always had a more creative, rather than critical, way of thinking. During high school, I concentrated my schedule around digital media courses. I was enthralled with the idea of creating my own content, learning computer software, and posting to social media. I spent most of my high school days in the computer lab fiddling with Adobe Photoshop and producing our school’s yearbook on Jostens. If there was any opportunity to create something, I jumped right on it. Which should have been a major sign that I should pursue something in the creative industry. But, 17-year-old Ashley felt like she had to “prove herself” by majoring in something outside of her comfort zone. So, at the end of senior year, I ignored my passions and began my undergrad journey to become a dentist.

The first two years of college, I tried to convince myself to push through and that one day it would be worth it. AKA “do it for the money, Ashley!!” But, it reached a point where I realized how much more important it is to be happy than settling with a career just for the paycheck. (Which, by the way, is the best realization I’ve ever had.) Something else not only I had noticed, but my friends did too, is that I was pretty miserable. I let my major consume me; constantly studying and never making time for myself. This took a toll on my mental health and caused my anxiety to go through the roof. I felt like I had no time to breathe and therefore wasn’t sleeping or eating properly. At the end of my first semester sophomore year, I was completely drained. Now, not only unhappy with my major, but miserable in general. I doubted myself and my intelligence constantly; always comparing myself others. I felt like my college years were slipping through my fingertips and that I was wasting them caught up in the pursuit of a future that I didn’t even want for myself.

So, how did I get here? Half way through college and starting completely over. Well, it was a terrifying decision to make and certainly didn’t happen over night. Once the breakthrough occurred that I wasn’t happy (or healthy) as a biology major anymore, it took an entire additional semester for me to make the switch. Fall 2017 is when I began to consider other options. In the back of my mind I knew I wanted to take a creative route this time around, so I scheduled my first communication course. This is when I realized what I was missing the past two years: passion for what I was studying. The material revived my creative side that I had tucked away for the last two years. This was the eye-opening moment that confirmed that I was meant to be doing this all along. So, this June I signed the paperwork to officially become a communication major and got my second shot at college. 

I’m two years into college and just two months into this new major. In just this short amount of time, I already am so much happier. I get excited to go to class instead of dreading it. Homework is a breeze because I LOVE what I’m doing. My whole outlook has changed; I have new personal goals and the mindset to make them happen. It’s amazing what can happen when you make your happiness a priority and stop letting self-doubt / outside influences get in the way.

What I want to get across from this story is that it is never too late to change your mind and make a decision that is right for you! Starting over can be scary, especially when it seems like you’re in too deep. But, a clean slate opens up a new world of possibilities. One simple decision has the power to alter the course of your life. Just 3 months ago, I was planning on being in college for another eight years straight and now I have many doors to open – each with a unique, unknown path. That's what’s cool about life though -- at any time, you have the chance to start fresh and redefine yourself. There’s no guarantees and your destiny is yours to create!

For anyone who is unsatisfied in their pursuit, (no matter what that may be) I encourage you to never settle for something that leaves you craving more. By that, I mean: choose a path that invigorates your soul; one that constantly allows you to learn and grow. If you pursue something you’re passionate about, it will never feel like a chore. You’ll willingly find ways to make it feel refreshing and new again. Even with my new major, I have seen how many options are out there for me. I am already prepared to try out new positions within the social media industry until I find one that drives me wild with excitement.

I thought that at 18 years old, I would be an established adult and have my whole life planned out. It turns out, that it was just the beginning. At any point in your life, you have the option to take a step back, evaluate, and restart if you’d like. Nothing is permanent; you can dust off any area of your life to freshen it up. So, don’t be afraid of change – embrace it! You never know how big of an impact that one, seemingly small, decision can have on your mindset and future achievements.

 

HCXO,

Ash