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There are a lot of different paths we can take through life and unfortunately one of them is one we choose in our senior year of high school when most of us are seventeen or eighteen years old. This is the path of where we want to go to college and what we want to major in. Personally, the route I decided on roughly this time last year was to go on a pre-med track and major in Psychology B.S (bachelor of science). Spoiler alert, this did not stick. 

Growing up I was told the best careers to have were to be a lawyer or a doctor, and this was a belief that was reinforced by my parents who both work in the healthcare field. I’m sure this is a similar belief that has been pushed on others my age. So when I got to high school the question of, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” started to become more serious. I came up with the answer of a psychiatrist, but it wasn’t something I was not wholeheartedly in love with. I liked the idea of being a therapist however it didn’t seem like a career that was enough in the medical field to please my parents which is how I landed on psychiatry. In all honesty, I couldn’t even spell psychiatrist without doubting myself at the time, and that should’ve been my first red flag. Nonetheless, I made it to UT and the doubt began to creep in.

My current biggest college regret is taking an introduction to chemistry class and I really do think it’s one that will stick in my brain for years to come. At the same time, I’m really thankful for that course because it made me realize that the path I was going down was not one I wanted. My first semester I made the effort of joining a pre-med organization specifically for liberal arts majors and that paired with the chemistry class is what opened my eyes. The club I joined was great, truly. They were very informative and sweet, but the information on what my future course load and life in medical school would look like was absolutely terrifying to me. I think about how I felt in my chemistry class and realized that those courses were never going to end. I was so unhappy with what my future was looking like and I just felt extremely trapped. 

Eventually, I called my mom two days before a big chemistry exam and just cried. I spent a lot of high school saying this was going to be my goal and I think at some point I really started to settle for it. For a goal like that to crumble and just coming to the realization that this is never what I really wanted was a different kind of heartbreak. Picking up the pieces was actually a lot easier than I anticipated. I made the mistake of staying in that chemistry class, but I did pass so I suppose it wasn’t the worst. I did figure out that I wasn’t completely set on what I wanted to do after college, but even this was more comforting to me than keeping myself locked on a path I didn’t want. At this point, I have decided that I want to open my options through a double major. After the end of finals last semester I switched my major from Psychology B.S to B.A and have looked into our communications college. I still like the idea of going to graduate school and becoming a clinical psychologist, but I am considering a double major in either Advertising or Public Relations which could lead me to get my MBA in Marketing. The future isn’t clear-cut, but it is no longer quite as grim. 

My advice to anyone with doubt about their major would be to first explore it a bit more. Join a club or talk to an advisor. There you can learn about the different career paths you could take and what your next semesters may look like. If this leaves you knowing that you want a different route then take it. To me, the hardest part of letting go is the feeling of failure. When I decided that pre-med wasn’t for me I felt like I failed the high school version of me who worked really hard to get where I am today. However, when I look at it now I think it takes a lot of courage to choose a new path and to tell people such as your parents that you have changed your mind. At the end of the day this is your future, not anyone else’s, so do what is best for you. 

Hello! I am a freshman psychology major at UT Austin and am super excited for this semester.
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