From an early age I established many goals. One of them was to attend a large university directly upon graduating from high school. Throughout high school I figured out what I wanted to do later on in my life and was certain I was choosing the right path for myself. There are many stereotypes ending in the idea that teenagers really actually have no clue what they want to do with their rest of their lives no matter how set they have their minds. For some, that is not the case at all. For me, however, I quickly fell into that category shortly before I left for my first semester at college.
I had anticipated college for a long time. Graduating from high school and knowing I was on to “bigger and better” was what I had awaited for so many years. That summer, however, I began questioning my decisions. Engineering seemed to be a perfect path for me. Since having taken extremely few classes that did not fall into the STEM category, it made sense. Purdue University was the match for my engineering desires, or so I thought. Even before the start of the semester, I realized I was burned out. I had interest in what I had chosen to study, but I had basically been taking similar classes for years and I did not want to pursue that any longer. I have had a love for travel and sports for as long as I can remember, so I decided to go against all odds and change my major to something that could include my new wishes. The very first week of my new college life, I walked into the engineering advising office and requested a change of major. It was then discovered that as a freshman, I could not change majors until the end of the semester and I would need to remain in engineering courses until further notice. I became highly discouraged and felt as if I had made a huge mistake.
My first semester seemed never ending and was a challenge to say the least. I tried my best to succeed in my courses, but that burned out feeling I felt over the summer had escalated to new heights. I struggled tremendously despite how long I studied and how much extra help I received. To make matters worse, I became very sick throughout the semester, resulting in a few weeks of missed classes. It appeared that no matter what I did, I was not destined to succeed.
The engineering department at Purdue is enormous and choosing to drop that program made me feel like an outcast at the university. I was afraid to tell others I was leaving engineering because expectations were very high for me to succeed in such a field. I thought I was letting people down. Towards the end of the fall semester, however, I realized the only person I was letting down was myself. I had to choose what was best for myself and what made me the happiest. I worked endlessly to finish the semester on a high note and turned my focus on finding what areas I felt the most passionate towards.
I’ve realized from this experience that chasing after my true dreams gave me a support system I never knew I had and has opened up many great opportunities for my future. This hardship in my life can be an example for others who are still trying to find their inner desires. My situation is an example of being yourself and taking whatever path you wish to accomplish and what makes you the happiest, even if that means going against the “norm”.