Throughout my life, I have always found happiness in helping or giving advice to other people and, at one point, I believed I was good at it. For this reason, I first arrived at my old college leaning towards becoming a psychology major. Therefore, I started my college career by taking psychology courses because I was interested in the field. Needless to say, my first semester was absolutely miserable and it completely changed the path I thought I was going to take, which seems to be a pattern in my case. Before I transferred to Pace in fall of 2019, I spent that second semester at my previous college comfortably ignoring the decision that laid ahead of me. I had this theory in my head that if I focused on completing my general education requirements, it would spare me enough time to find a passion in a major or occupation that I would be interested in. The concept of having my entire career pre-set and being unable to change it gave me tons of anxiety, and I wanted to be able to make that decision when I was confident enough in myself. Well, what I was unaware of is that I would never gain this spark of confidence or passion. My indecisiveness has been a part of me ever since I was a child, and I was never confident in any of the choices I made. My time as an undecided freshman felt like a blur, and before I knew it, I was already transferring to Pace.
Challenges of Transferring to Pace
My transfer to Pace was not an easy one, but not for a reason anyone would immediately go to. Ultimately, one of my family members did not support my decision to transfer, which took a turn, and put me in a very stressful financial situation. It got to the point where I did not think I would be able to transfer because of the pressure that was put on myself and my mom, who has been a major support system for me. As excited as I was when I got accepted into Pace with a transfer scholarship, my mind was purely distracted and I couldn’t properly celebrate knowing the stressful future in front of me. After months of convincing, I was finally able to transfer to Pace under an agreement that still brings me a lot of anxiety to this day. My rattled self arrived at Pace with zero energy left to spare and although exhausted, I was determined to choose my own path instead of someone with more power choosing it for me.
Trying a New Major
My love for working with kids unsurprisingly translated to a childhood education major to my advisor, so I decided to pursue that in hopes that something would click and I would find a passion in teaching. It took a lot to convince myself that I was patient enough to work as an elementary school teacher, but I did manage to fully persuade myself. However, I eventually came to realize that although I loved working with the Education Department and the education students, teaching and being in front of a classroom was not for me. By this point, I had just finished my sophomore year at Pace and was stuck. After devoting a year of my life as a childhood education major, I decided to pursue my college career as a public relations major in the MCVA Department.
Finding a Welcome Community
Due to the unfortunate times we are living in, I am still unable to meet any of the MCVA professors or work with them face-to-face. However, I am absolutely loving how passionate the MCVA Department is about their craft. For the first time, I finally feel like I belong in a community where the outlook is sincerely positive despite all of the challenges we have had to face this year. Although I have not been actively involved in the MCVA department in-person yet, I am really excited to get to know everyone in class when this pandemic is in the past. Now that I have completed the majority of my general education requirements, and am starting to take classes that fit with my major, I have become so much happier and invested in my experiences.
Advice on Finding Your Own Path
Now that I finally believe that I’ve found my path, I want to be able to help others do the same. So, here are a few tips to help your journey that I wish I had to follow by.
1. No matter how many people will tell you otherwise, there’s no “perfect path.”
Whether you change your major five times or keep the same major throughout, no path is considered “superior.” As much as it seems like you’re in a time crunch, there are so many opportunities to join clubs, organizations, or elective courses that interest you. Take advantage of every opportunity you have to learn something new because although your mind may seem set, it is always good to have a backup plan. If you are not feeling your major anymore, your feelings are valid and you do not need to follow a path you’re not comfortable with.
2. Don’t let the people closest to you bring you down.
Unfortunately, I had and still have a very difficult time following this rule. Throughout life, I have had to come to many disappointing realizations about people that were supposed to support me the most. Personally, I am very impacted and influenced by the people around me and I know this is something I continuously have to work on. However, being able to forgive those who have wronged me has made me feel empowered and free. Focusing on those who support you and keeping them in your life is way more important than dwelling on the rough times I had with unsupportive people.
3. Choose a major that YOU enjoy.
I believed that I would be a teacher for so long because of the people around me constantly reassuring me. I will admit, I am guilty of tricking myself into believing that I was doing what I was destined to go to college for. However, just because a major may look more professional on a piece of paper, does not mean that it’s the major for you. It is going to take a lot of soul searching and self discovery to make a confident decision. Students need to realize that they are devoting years of time and energy for this college degree. Your diploma does not have your parents’ name on it, so you might as well do something YOU would like to spend the rest of your life doing.
About the Author: My name is Allie Friedel and I am from Scarsdale, New York. I am a public relations major with an English minor. I love writing, playing video games, and being with my family and my dogs. I have been working as an intern for a nonprofit organization called Type 1 Action since the summer of last year. I am actively pursuing other internships over the summer to be able to gain connections and experience.