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I’m Not Graduating on Time and That’s Okay

Four years ago, I thought I had it all figured out: I was going to get a dual degree in economics and business, find a job, work for a few years, and then come back to Western and get my Masters of Business Administration. Simple, right? Coming from a small high school where I had always succeeded and had a lot of support from my teachers and classmates, I knew it would be hard, but I was confident I could do it.

However, when I got to Western and started classes, it became apparent that maybe my perfect plan wasn’t so perfect for me after all. I quickly changed majors after failing calculus first semester. I didn’t study for any of my classes as much as I should have, and my marks suffered. I finished first year resolving to work harder in second year so I could still try and get into Ivey Business School.

But when I started Business 2257, the mandatory course needed to apply to Ivey, I hated it. I didn’t like the concepts we were learning and I wasn’t a fan of how competitive it was to get participation marks. I became disengaged, and I knew I had to do better if I wanted to get in. But deep down, there was a voice nagging me with something I didn’t want to admit to myself: I no longer wanted to attend Ivey.

When I got my pre-acceptance to Ivey, everyone was so proud. My dad had gone to Ivey, and by following in his footsteps, I felt closer to him. He died when I was 14 and it was really important to me. I thought that by deciding that Ivey wasn’t for me, I would be letting everyone, including him, down. I felt like a fraud for discovering that I didn’t actually want to go into business after talking about it for the better part of two years.

Meanwhile, I was really enjoying my sociology and criminology classes. I found it to be very interesting and I was passionate about the subject. I discovered that what I really wanted to do was help people who were affected by crime as a counselor in a prison or in the community. When I voiced these desires to a friend, she suggested I consider forensic psychology, where I would be able to marry my interests of helping people and dealing with the criminal population.

After a long talk with my mom, who assured me that she supported me and that my dad would not disapprove of my choice, I dropped Business 2257, I didn’t apply to Ivey, and I put my new plan into motion. I took first-year psychology the summer after second year, and this year, my fourth year, I officially began my psychology major.

The switch hasn’t been easy: I’ve had to take two credits of math (which has been a nightmare) and I went from being enrolled in third-year courses to being enrolled in first and second-year courses. The program is challenging, with lots of exams and assignments, but ultimately, I know I’ve made the right decision. I like what I’m studying and I know that this is what I need to do to get me to where I want to be.

Because of this decision, I won’t be graduating on time. And I’m totally okay with that. Do I feel a little jealous when I see my friends and classmates posting their graduation photos and talking about their future plans on social media? Of course. But I know that this switch was right for me, and I don’t regret my choice one bit.

If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that undergrad is all about figuring out what you like and what you want to do in the future. Use these four years to explore your passions and whether you change your mind once, twice, or ten times, it’ll all work out in the end.

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Alex Hawkins

Western '21

Alex is doing a master's degree in library and information science. She graduated with a BA in psychology and criminology in 2019. She previously served as co-Campus Correspondent and President of Her Campus Western. Follow her on insta @alexhawkins65.
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