On Being A Journalism Major In A STEM Family

I recall sitting at my dinner table as a fourth-grader, attempting to master fractions and percentages.

As my father and I sat in piles of scratch paper and unanswered equations, he couldn’t wrap his head around why I didn’t comprehend the material.

While he was understanding and patient, the frustration I felt was obvious. Three tutors later and I was still bad at math. 

My father is an accountant and my mother a microbiologist.

Having two parents in STEM fields was very interesting growing up.

It was inspiring to always be able to look up to people who were successful and passionate about their careers. However, as my interests began to develop, I realized they were quite different from those of my parents. 

As years of education went by, I started to gravitate toward creative hobbies.

I would get so excited walking into art classes or band practice.

The smell of paint and the crescendo of instruments made me eager to learn, whereas the sound of clanging beakers and times-table quizzes felt discouraging.

The satisfaction I felt from turning in an English essay always surpassed other courses. 

When I entered high school, I tried to go in with an open mind.

As I entered chemistry for the first time during my sophomore year, knowing this was my mom’s favorite class, I expected to feel a connection to the material.

After all, STEM runs in the family. However, I frequently managed to disengage.

Exams and labs came and went, yet I didn’t feel I was truly progressing. In the end, I got the grade, but I probably couldn’t tell you anything about what I gained that year. 

In a desperate last effort to thrive in at least one STEM course, I signed up for Calculus, a math class far beyond my capability. Spoiler alert: I didn’t do too hot.

It was then, during my senior year, that I realized a life in STEM simply wasn’t in the cards. 

Deciding on a major was a challenge. I had spent so long envisioning myself in a certain field until I recognized my talents resided in a completely different box. 

Luckily, I had a very supportive circle of people in my life including my parents, peers and teachers.

After exploration and encouragement, I applied to universities as a journalism major. While I felt relieved that I had chosen a path, I couldn’t help but feel I was choosing something not relatable to members of my family.

Would they no longer be able to coach me and guide me through my college years with their experience? 

For the remainder of my senior year and summer, I started to become anxious about the independent route I had embarked on alone.

I admittedly thought about the lost connections I would have had and how any success would have to be self-sufficiently created.

I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to make it happen for myself. I didn’t really have any high school experience in the area. All I had was a feeling. 

So far, the trust I’ve had in myself has taken me to wonderful platforms, such as Her Campus UFL!

I guess what I’m trying to say is, ‘the feeling’ is enough.

If you sense your destiny is pulling you in a certain direction, don’t exhaust yourself by running the other way.

Choosing a different path than your family can feel like you’re abandoning expectations, which is terrifying.

But succeeding on your own terms is so important. Fulfilling your own fate and giving into your passions is super rewarding, so go chase those passions rather than plans.