lysa-85My second year in college truly hit me about a month ago, when I realized that I had taken on way too many extracurricular activities, more science laboratory classes than I could handle, and that maybe a science major on a pre-med course track was not working out.

Many students start college out thinking that they will go through college and go on to become a doctor or a lawyer. Most pre-med students also assume that since they “love” science they will of course become a biology or chemistry major. I entered Williams College my freshman year, and thought I had it all figured out. I would complete all of the pre-med courses and major in biology. Afterall, I loved biology in high school. Then, I started college and biology no longer seemed to interest me. I found myself dreading each class and the four hour lab sessions I had to get through each week. But I kept on track for med school and I kept taking chemistry and biology together each semester up until I finished classes last week. However, one thing did change for me. I realized that while I may want to be a doctor in the future, I definitely do not want to major in science!

I used to think it was unacceptable to apply to medical school without a science major, but it’s not! Medical schools are looking for all different kinds of people with different backgrounds and majors! I have officially declared a major in psychology and couldn’t be happier. Child Development and Psychology studies are truly where my passion lies and now I can put all my energy into something I love, while still working towards medical school. I am also currently pursuing a double major in Women,Gender, & Sexuality Studies, which I never expected to interest me before coming to Williams! Therefore, I urge all of you as you decide on what classes you want to take next semester, to try out a class that you’ve always thought sounded cool, or maybe you know nothing about! Sometimes those classes are the ones that surprise you and truly make you realize what path you want to take.

Another important lesson I learned as a sophomore is that you simply can’t do it all. Sometimes we think we can take on the world on our shoulders and never stumble while trying to make it all work. I realized this past year that I just had way too much on my plate. I was on my college’s hip hop dance team, president of the Student Health Club and a member of student government.

I realized a semester too late that I really just needed to put all of my concentration into my studies and take a break from trying to juggle multiple extracurricular activities. It got to a point where I was dancing 10 hours a week, having to work my job 10 hours a week to make ends meet financially, and spending 10 hours a week in lab. Plus, I was still planning events through student government on the weekends! I finally realized that I didn’t have time to please other people through my dance performances or event planning if I didn’t even have time to make myself happy. I was slowly running myself into the ground and dragging my academic performance along with me. My grades slowly dropped and I didn’t know what to do. But I knew that I didn’t come to Williams to dance. I came to college to make a better life for myself and my family. If I could put only half the time I spent dancing into my school work or job, I would be able to help my family more financially and improve my grades.

Sometimes, even though you love to do something and it’s truly hard to give it up, you have to move on and place importance on what truly matters. I can dance for the rest of my life. I realized that I didn’t need a dance team to prove my abilities. But, you only get a chance at college ONCE. College is truly not easy. I have had many days where I’ve wondered, why me? What am I doing here? I have sat and cried in my room many times and tried desperately to find myself through all of the stress that college has placed on my life. But, I know that it will all be worth it in the end. I know what it’s like to feel alone in college. I’ve definitely felt that way often. But it’s important to realize that you are where you are for a reason. Someone chose you over 4 to 8 other students, because they had confidence in your ability to succeed.

Although, some days I may have felt alone, like I had the weight of my family back home depending on me to make something out of myself, that is truly what I also want for myself, and that makes even the worst days manageable! Stay strong and positive. At times sophomore year can be more trying than freshman year, because few people are there to hold your hand and there are much higher expectations set for you during your second year of college. But, just sit back and take a deep breath! You are almost half way through your college career!