When I first matriculated at the University of Maryland, I was dead-set on becoming an environmental scientist. One year of advanced placement environmental science and lab research on algae production had me convinced my life’s mission was to save the planet for future generations. Less than halfway through the semester, I realized I was dead wrong.
While promoting and upholding sustainability is still a number one priority for me, I realized my strengths did not lie in the technical and scientific realms of environmental issues. Though I enjoyed the tedium and specificity involved with lab work, I knew in the long run, my attention would be drawn to other places easily.
So I decided to switch my major to psychology. From the time I was a little girl, I had always been intrigued by the way people thought and acted, and I loved giving advice (even when no one asked for it). Meeting with my adviser and going over the necessary steps to immerse myself into the major felt refreshing; I was positive that I was making the right choice this time.
Of course, I was wrong again. Though I still find myself interested in people’s inner-workings, I wanted more. I wasn’t satisfied with only focusing on one thing. I remember feeling panicked because I couldn’t stick with anything, and I didn’t want to waste my time or money if I couldn’t figure out what to do.
This past spring, I had a written assignment for my anthropology class, and I put a lot of effort into it because it was directly tapping into my creative side — a side of me I felt I had been neglecting. So, I poured all of my creative energy and writing ability into the assignment. I felt proud with the outcome, so I shared this experience with everyone close to me.
The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Strangely, I felt calm and assured when someone asked me, “Why are you not in journalism?” This struck a chord with me. I had looked into journalism, but I wasn’t confident enough in my writing ability to ever go for it. Hearing this a few times made me realize what I really wanted to dedicate my life to.
Unfortunately, not every student will have that moment of epiphany. Although I honestly believe every college student facing indecision needs some sort of confirmation of their abilities, it won’t always happen. With the first two majors I attempted, I was given a lot of support. But nothing stood out as the unequivocally right thing to do with my life. This is something many college students frequently face.
College, though filled with great experiences and people, can be a very lonely place. You can be surrounded by people you know, but still feel as though no one is really with you. During this transitional period, students must rely on their instincts to know themselves better than they ever have before.
This is a tough reality that so many people face regularly, so I think it’s important to let students everywhere know their indecision is normal, and they will, in time, discover what to do with their lives.
So to the student still struggling with this question, here’s a word of advice: It might not always seem like it, but what you put into the universe will return back to you tenfold. So keep up your hard work and don’t stop your search for your purpose in this life. It’s out there, and it’s waiting for you.
Hope Hynson is a sophomore journalism major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.