Picking a major can be very difficult. Students are expected to come in, typically fresh out of high school, and choose an area of study that they are intending on working with for, essentially, the rest of their lives. It’s different for every student, but for me personally, I had no idea who I was at 18 years old.
I started at FSU in 2018 after I graduated high school, and I came in supposedly knowing exactly what I wanted. I was going to go to vet school and become a veterinarian. At the time, I was working at a local animal hospital as a kennel technician, and I felt like it was the right career for me. My major was Behavioral Neuroscience, and I couldn’t wait to start taking classes that I was actually interested in. As it turns out, you don’t actually start taking these classes until you get through your prerequisite courses.
My first semester of classes was really difficult. I was not prepared for the fast-paced, often impersonal teaching style that some classes had to offer. In high school, teachers had the time to work with you individually during class and help you understand the material. In college, there can be over 200 students in a class, and the professor just simply doesn’t have the time to check in on every single one and see how they’re doing. Students should take advantage of office hours to get additional help. The concept of office hours was very daunting to me as a freshman. I regretfully never took advantage of them, and I paid the price for it.
I did not do well in my science classes that first semester… and also the semester after that. No matter how hard I studied, how much I did extra assignments or watched additional video lectures online, the information just didn’t click. I had to ask myself if this was really the major for me–a conversation that I had been avoiding. Not only was I not doing well in my classes, I wasn’t enjoying them. The hands-off lecture style where they speak and I take notes was not working for me. People in my classes were making friends and forming study groups, but I kept to myself. I felt as though I wasn’t smart enough to interact with my peers. I was miserable, yet I couldn’t think of another career that I was interested in. That’s when I joined an organization on campus.
The organization I’m in is through the College of Music. I’ve always been involved with music, and I wanted to make new friends and do service, so I joined even though I was not interested in being a music major. I got the opportunity to be the public relations chair and run the social media accounts, and this is where everything changed for me. I loved it. I loved making graphics, writing posts, managing social media, everything that came with the job was so fun for me. It took me a while to realize that this was actually something I could pursue as a career. I wanted to change my major, but I wasn’t sure what exactly to change it to.
Upon talking with some friends who had similar experiences, I visited an advisor within the College of Communication and Information. I had my sights set on the Public Relations major, but the advisor introduced me to another program that may be a better fit–Editing, Writing and Media, a major in the English department. I had always done well in English throughout school, and it was actually something I really enjoyed; I just had never explored it as an option for a career. I went home and did an excessive amount of research and decided that this was the major for me. I did the paperwork to make the change and was in English classes the next semester.
Here I am, at the end of my undergraduate career, graduating next semester with a degree in Editing, Writing and Media with a Philosophy minor. This is entirely different from what I had envisioned for myself as a freshman, but that’s what college is all about. If I hadn’t allowed myself to make those mistakes and explore options that were not for me, I would not have the appreciation for my major and for school that I have now.
I love my major, and I feel so fortunate to be taking classes that I’m interested in and also good at. When I was in the wrong major, I had convinced myself that school wasn’t for me and I wasn’t smart, but I just was not where I was supposed to be yet. College is a journey of self discovery, and it’s okay to make mistakes along the way. Every mistake is a learning opportunity to grow and learn more about yourself, and I’m so grateful that my mistakes led me to where I am now.
Written by Rylee Mehr