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Why I Chose My Major Through Failure

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UVA chapter.



“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” — Maya Angelou.

At five years old, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I went on for an entire eighteen years, determined I would be a pediatrician.  I knew that it had to be the profession for me, and I would never lessen my standards until I had the “Dr.” title in front of my name.  This all changed when I had my first semester at UVA, and I struggled to stay afloat in my Spanish course.  

I knew college life wouldn’t be easy, and I would have to adjust, but I never thought I would be the student who failed every test my professor handed out or who always felt judged in the classroom.  I felt embarrassed, ashamed, and overall, a disappointment to everyone who had once believed in me.  I needed Spanish as a prerequisite to declare my then major, which was Chemistry.  However, I knew from how things looked; I’d never survive in the next upper-level Spanish class I needed to complete to fulfill the requirements.  After beating myself up for way too long and questioning my acceptance into UVA, I realized I was chasing everyone else’s dream and not my own.  That’s when I discovered the School of Education and finally took matters into my own hands.

I realized I wasn’t taking advantage of my various experiences to do something I truly loved.  I was a daycare teacher for children on the autism spectrum, a nanny, and I volunteered with various special needs programs in my community.  I concluded I would contact the Speech Communication Disorders major advisor and gather insight about the field.  This day, I realized that I belonged in the field of human development as opposed to the long path of medicine.  I submitted my application a few weeks later and had to wait for the results anxiously.  I heard back, and I was accepted into the program. Now I am on track to pursuing a degree as a Medical Speech-Language Pathologist and graduating a year earlier.

If I had not accepted that I couldn’t be perfect in every subject, I would most likely be miserable with a GPA that was also very sad looking.  I learned from my failure to be bi-lingual that I wasn’t even pursuing my actual dreams in life.  I always knew I wanted to help people, but I assumed that it had to be a doctor.  However, I must say I love what I’m studying, and my GPA reflects it (because who doesn’t love studying, right?)

My advice to anyone who’s conflicted with their future is to listen to what you want.  You’re going to college for yourself, and you must be the one to push yourself to be the best version of yourself.  Take classes you like, ask for help and advice from others, don’t give up, take risks, and lastly, think about the happiness you wish to have in the future.  Use any setbacks as a way to make a comeback and always have optimism.  Also, in case you were curious, I passed Spanish and never looked back.

Hi!! I'm Breanna, a second-year Speech Communication Disorders major! I love going to the beach, laughing at tiktoks, and being a plant mom.