Alternatively titled: why it’s okay to keep on with a major you’re unsure about.
I write this at 8:31 AM as I sit on vacation in New England, looking at “higheredjobs.com”, just having finished my second year of nursing school two months ago. In other words: these are not the things I should be doing.
As every family member with whom I come into contact asks how my school year went, I can’t help but find myself saying “it was okay…” and hastily adding “but I’m not sure I like my major anymore.”
What no one tells you about sophomore year is that school becomes very real without any smooth transition into the workload. Suddenly the novelty of freshman year has worn off and you are left staring directly in the face of your chosen career path, not quite far enough advanced in your studies to see what your life in that path might look like, but far enough to understand the large, overarching responsibilities this degree will give you within your field. And at nineteen years old, that was (and is!) absolutely terrifying to me.
In addition, as millennials, we’re constantly told we’re finicky, unable to commit, and lack the drive and initiative to succeed. So we lose sight of the end goal: to live a happy life and enjoy the things we are doing. We are afraid to change career paths because we think others will judge us. We become rooted in the things to which we’ve committed because we’re taught it’s better to play it safe- “who knows what the economy will look like in 4 years when you graduate?” our parents say. Or, my favorite, “if you think I’m paying for a [liberal degree] you’re out of your mind. How could you ever get a job with that?”
We become terrified to not continue on with these practical majors and plans we’ve picked for ourselves because they’ve been “pre-approved” for our lives. Deviating from that is unknown, uncertain, and flying in the face of comfortability. And that’s something we as young adults are never taught to navigate.
I’m a really big quote person. I collect them for times in my life where I really feel like I could use a good one (or I just need a really solid instagram caption). One I’ve felt has guided me through my life comes from Hannibal, a politician from B.C. times. “We will either find a way, or we will make one.”
And I think that’s how we, as students confused about our futures, have to look at it. Our degrees confer worth in and of themselves by very nature of their existence. I am learning that having confidence in myself to exude the more fundamental values of my degree and my Temple education (perseverance, tenacity, grit, dedication, critical thinking, integrity) will make me marketable to employers no matter what.
Also, grad school exists! School is not going anywhere. You can always start over. No matter how fantastic the school, transitions are always rough, and deciding what you want to do at eighteen and being expected to stick to that forever truly is impractical. It’s okay to think you might not pursue your major once you graduate. Your education is an invaluable experience no matter what. Have confidence in yourself, your advisors, and your family and friends, and (more than likely) everything will turn out fine.
Here’s to finding your way (or making one).
Until next time,