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Medicine to Media: How My Failure Helped Me Find My Passion

Coming into college, we’re told all of the horror stories of people changing their majors time after time, failing classes, fearing withdrawal on your transcripts and falling victim to the infamous weed-out courses.

Being the high-caliber students we are (we did get into a top seven public university, after all), we were confident that the star of those horror stories could never be us.

I heard the threats and I heeded the warnings, yet I fell into the trap; I failed, and it was the best thing to ever happen to me. My failure led me to find my passion, and I went from a struggling pre-med student to an inspired public relations major making her way in the media.

The signs were all there 

I always knew I wanted to be a doctor. My pediatrician told me she saw medicine in my future when six-year-old me correctly self-diagnosed an ear infection.

From that moment on, I was well on my way to being a surgeon straight out of Grey’s Anatomy. This remained my plan until I came head-to-head with my first college chemistry class.

I was told chemistry was a weed-out class-- a class to kill off the ones not cut out for a career in science. I knew that wasn’t me; I breezed through all of my courses in high school while getting my associate’s degree and doing a ton of different extracurriculars.

It wasn’t my first rodeo, but I definitely got knocked off my high horse.

I failed science course after science course, despite my efforts, lack of a social life and permanent seat in Library West. I failed chemistry and biology multiple times, but persistence did not mean passion.

I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t thriving, and I felt absolutely no joy in any of my classes. I didn’t want to admit defeat, but I knew I needed a change. 

An open mind brought inspiration

Sitting at rock bottom, I could see the world of possibilities above me.

There was no way I was getting into medical school now, and for the first time, I had to explore all of my options.

I laid aside all thoughts about money, time, pride and status and completely opened my mind to the possibility of a creative career. Before coming into college, I lived in Orlando and closely followed the lives and travels of many Disney bloggers.

I saw the Instagram posts, read the blogs, watched YouTube videos and wondered if a career existed that would allow me to do all of those things.

One day I decided to do some digging and find out what my favorite bloggers got their degrees in.

That’s when I found that public relations was the common denominator. I transferred into the College of Journalism and Communications and was ready to start over.

Making up for lost time

After making the switch, I had quite a bit of catching up to do.

My summer schedule was loaded with classes, and I was racking my brain for ways to get experience.

I applied for positions in my sorority and on campus that would help me gain experience in writing, design and social media without any prior experience.

I started my own blog to get the ball rolling and gave myself a platform to experiment with to show potential recruiters what experience I had under my belt.

Before I knew it, my life had changed entirely; My grades were significantly better, I was less stressed and I was enjoying my courses, all while letting my creative juices flow. Now, I’m set to graduate with a degree in public relations, multiple internship experiences and seeking out a career in marketing with The Walt Disney Company.

I’ve learned that sometimes, our greatest disappointments can be the start to our greatest stories and failure doesn’t have to be a bad thing.





I'm Adrianna Santiago, a 20-something-year-old girl created to create beautiful things and love all the people. I'm currently a public relations student at the University of Florida working hard towards finding a career where I can use my creative skills to tell stories and bring people together. ​ When I'm not clacking at my keyboard you can find me sipping on iced coffee working on a design, roaming the streets of Main Street USA (camera in hand of course), or filming and editing videos for my YouTube channel.
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