My advisor worriedly looks at me and says, “Many second years are just beginning to think about a field of study. Have you thought at all about what you want to major in?”
Just beginning to think about what they want to major in? Seriously? Has no one else been staying up late researching all of the requirements for different majors, figuring out which majors will get them to their dream jobs, and stalking their teachers on social media to get a feel for the type of people in each department? Okay, maybe the stalking is a little too far, but of course I had thought about a major before this point.
“A little,” I respond as I pull out my folder with spreadsheets of the classes I need to take for my academic plan. “I am planning on double majoring in Arts Administration and Media Studies with a concentration in Film, and then I want to minor in Studio Art with an emphasis on cinematography and new media.” Clearly, I had thought about this more than just a little. My advisor is going to be so proud.
I am waiting for my advisor to smile or express some kind of praise for how prepared and organized I was. Instead, she stares at me with a confused look on her face. “You’re too intense,” she tells me. I do not know exactly how to respond or what face to make. I settle with a half laugh type of noise because I couldn’t think of anything else to do. I suppose tackling a double major and a minor was “too intense” in her eyes, but to me, it’s strategic. If I can plan my classes in a way that would make this academic goal a possibility, then I am going to make it happen. Otherwise, I would be able to graduate in three years with one major and a minor, and quite frankly, I want four solid years of the college experience.
A few seconds later, I compose my thoughts and then reply, “I’m just trying to get the most out of my four years as an undergraduate student, and I feel like this is the best approach for me to do this.” She goes on to explain how limiting myself to a select area of study would ultimately limit the span of knowledge that I can attain at a university. I start to doubt myself. Maybe I am going about this a little too intensely. But then I remember why I am doing this in the first place: I am so passionate about my fields of interest that I’d rather expand my knowledge on a more focused path than attain a more general degree of knowledge.
To any high school students or young college students out there, college is your journey. For the first time in your life, you have to make decisions completely on your own. One of the very first decisions you’ll have to make is choosing what you want to study. Savor that freedom to choose and don’t let anyone get inside your head because ultimately, only you can feel your own passion. Even if it appears too intense in the eyes of others, listen to yourself and just go for it.