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Plan vs. Passion: Should I Do What I Love?

Unless you’re one of those people who’s known what they’ve wanted to do with their lives since they were 12, you’ve likely thought about or have changed your major. I’m definitely no different. It all started when I got a 30% on a Statistics midterm. Now, Stats is my major, so to be doing that badly in a Stats class seemed like a wake-up call. I started questioning if it was supposed to be this hard, or if I just wasn’t cut out for Stats. I chose the latter, and when I started looking through a list of other majors, nothing stood out to me. Then came the panic. 

I felt like everyone was basically ready to declare their major, had finished all of their lower divs and were happily on their way to the career of their choice with their 4.0 GPA’s in hand. I’m not even planning to go to grad school, so I don’t know why my GPA bothered me, but it did. And then there I was: failing a class for my major with no other options. I spent the next quarter only taking classes that looked interesting, but I didn’t want to completely start from scratch and nothing interested me enough to major in it. So, after my advisor told me I could retake the Stats class, I decided to just stay in the major. I wanted to have a plan, and I wanted to pick a major that would help me get a job after graduation. Honestly, I’m still not sure if this was the right choice, considering the fact that when anyone asks what I want to do in the statistics field, I shrug and say something along the lines of, “I’ll figure it out eventually.” 

So, obviously my plan isn’t the most detailed, but it’s a plan. To me, that felt more essential than spending (and potentially wasting) more time finding something I was truly passionate about. Who knows? Maybe I’ll learn to love stats but I know at this moment that I don’t wake up every morning ecstatic about the subject. However, I do feel a weight lifted off of my shoulders. It’s comforting to know that I have my courses mapped out until graduation, that I have a sense of what to expect and that I don’t feel like I’m just floating around, waiting for something to click. I question, though, if I’m doing myself a disservice. Maybe I should broaden my search and try more new subjects; maybe I shouldn’t give up this quickly. I can rationalize everything by saying that I have plenty of time to figure out a long-term plan, and I’m not setting anything in stone, but am I just delaying the inevitable identity crisis? I hope not. 

It’s okay to pick a major that could bring you a better sense of security. It’s okay to want a plan over a passion, and it’s okay to figure it out later. I mean, there’s probably someone out there that majored in Computer Science that’s now an actor. There’s really no use comparing your situation to others. Maybe being a violin prodigy isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be. I’m glad though that I was able to find a semblance of control over my life. But, who knows? Maybe I’ll be writing an article next year about the joys of Statistics classes. Crazier things have happened.

Leila is from New York City and is a second-year Statistics major at UCLA. When she's not looking for article ideas for HC UCLA, she can be found at the beach with a book or finding fun places around LA!
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