One incredibly daunting task you'll face when coming to college is deciding what you want to major in. It can seem like you're planning out your whole life just by clicking a set of words on a dropdown menu. Biomedical sciences? Business administration? Engineering? At 18-19 years old, this choice is probably one of the more life-altering ones you've made and it's incredibly easy to let yourself get stressed out over choosing what you want to study.
When I was looking at schools and trying to decide on what I wanted study, I was set on being a music major, so much so that I actually applied to Texas A&M University as a performance studies major. The summer before my freshman year, I realized I didn't entirely want to turn one of my biggest stress-relief sources into my career; it seemed like a great way to burn myself out. Even though I had wanted to major in music since the 8th grade, I changed my major to biomedical sciences (BIMS) before I even started college. It seemed like the perfect fit: my mom is a vet, I had wanted to be a vet in middle school, and I had always done pretty well in my science courses.
My first semester of college, I decided to take veterinary entomology as one of my BIMS-directed electives. I ended up falling in love with the insect world; I was absolutely amazed at how much diversity there is in the world around us and how incredibly neat bugs are. I was even more amazed when I realized that I could major in the study of bugs, which I thought would just be a hobby. During the second semester of my freshman year, I picked up entomology as a double major and started to pursue a certificate in public health entomology after taking medical entomology.
I was a biomedical sciences major for 2.5 semesters. When I changed my major from performance studies, I had just fallen back on what I thought I wanted to do when I was 13 and until I worked at a summer camp before the first semester of my sophomore year, I was just planning on going through with biomedical sciences without giving it any further thought. However, working at that summer camp started to show me what I really wanted to do with my life. I realized my heart lies not only in working outside, but in helping people better themselves and showing kids just how amazing the natural world is.
When I came back to school that fall, I kept it in the back of my mind that I wasn't pursuing what I truly loved. That fall, I also started rock climbing at the Student Recreation Center on campus and immediately found myself in a community of like-minded people who encouraged and supported me no matter what. Further, I found another thing that was pulling me towards the outdoors and that was teaching me more that I wanted to share with others. I applied and was accepted to an organization called Aggie Outdoors, which is founded on "escaping routine" and exploring the natural world with friends and like-minded people through camping, climbing, hiking and community service.
I finally started looking in the major catalog on Texas A&M's website and was shocked to find a major that was exactly what I wanted to do. In the middle of the fall semester, I completed my final major change to recreation, park and tourism sciences with a concentration in youth development in addition to my entomology double major. Currently, I am pursuing a bachelor of science in recreation, park and tourism sciences and entomology with a certificate in youth development and a certificate in public health entomology. After graduation, I'm hoping to get my master of social work with the end goal of becoming a wilderness therapist, which gets back to my core passion of being outside and helping people.
If you are asking yourself what major you should choose, the answer is that there really isn't one correct answer. It's okay to change your mind and it's entirely possible to shape your major into what you want it to be. I came to college as a performance studies major and I am now studying youth development and bugs and will (hopefully) have a career where I work entirely outside with at-risk youth. You will grow as you go through college and will find interests that you never knew you had. If you take away anything from my Aggie story, I hope that it's this:
- Changing your major is not the end of the world; you will grow as you go.
- You will find interests and passions that you never would have experienced otherwise.
- You are not your major. You are so much more.
I hope you have an incredible college experience, that you pursue what you love and more than anything, I hope to see you here in Aggieland!