An actual question I was just asked.
Okay, it's fair because in my 2.5 years at University, I've had 5 majors. (And one twice).
I entered Exploratory, changed to Communication, changed to Marketing, added International Business, changed to Sociology, added Communication. So right now, I'm a Sociology and Communication double major. I'm finally feeling good.
Do you want to know why I changed 3/4 times? Because of YOU. That's right. The 4th time, I finally changed for me.
Let me explain. Let's talk about expectations.
Let me share a blurb from my personal journal time stamped October 25, 2014 1:12am entitled "Expectations". (This was written between adding International business and switching to Sociology).
Expectations have never bothered me.
I mean, I always knew that people had expectations for and about me and I usually lived up to them, honestly. I have expectations about people and sometimes they live up and sometimes they let me down. That's life. It isn't until recently that these expectations people have have been really weighing down on me.
One thing that I've heard from a lot of people that I care so deeply about is:
"don't worry, you'll be successful in whatever you do."
Of course this comes from a good and supportive place. I get that everyone is trying to ease my "holy crap I have no idea what I am doing with my life" issues that I face on a daily basis.
But it is so terrifying...no...petrifying to hear.
What they want me to hear: "Abby. Calm down. You are going to be just fine...don't worry...we love you."
What I actually hear: "Abby. We are all waiting for you to be amazing, so you better do it."
Also. People have expectations for you based on what societal "categories" you fall under. I am in business, so I have to be involved in ROAR Tour Guides, SAC, Women in Business, and Greek Life.
I'm in Greek life, so I need to be pretty, well spoken, wear Lily Pulitzer and Jack Rogers, involved, and smart. I will also probably be easy, ditzy, and spend my Saturday afternoons watching boys play slosh ball on a fraternity lawn while I sip on the Natural Lite I was handed.
I'm a woman leader, so I'm bossy, aggressive and a man hater.
I'm bubbly and friendly, so I'm confident and a tad cocky.
These expectations are paralyzingly hard for me to deal with. They're all weighing down on me. It's so cliche: you find yourself in college. You find your way to thrive. But how can I thrive when I am trapped in this mold and smothered by these expectations?
And god forbid I am in business and love being a tour guide-----> I'm basic.
God forbid I'm in a sorority and drink a Starbucks drink----> basic bitch.
I'm just a face in the sea of hundreds of female marketing majors in Greek Life and ROAR who wears riding boots and says she wants to be a leader and stand out. How do you stand out when you have similar interests and values with people you are around?
It's hard to live up to high expectations, but what happens if I am being me and I'm living up to everyone's expectation of being basic?
What does this all mean? It means I, like many of you I'm sure, worry way too much about what people think of me. So much so that I almost let it direct what I chose to do with my life. Scary stuff.
Timeline of Abby's Majors:
December 2011: Applied to UC for the Exploratory Studies Program
-I had no idea what I wanted to study. I was a senior in high school for Pete's sake! In high school, we all take the same 27 classes and you're either good at them or aren't. You don't get to see what makes you special, you're just trying to make it through.
April 2012: Declared Communication Major
-I simply could not go into college undecided! That's what the underachievers did. (This is what I told myself). I knew I was good at English and I talk a lot and wrote a blog, so I thought sure Communication. Sounds good.
November 2013: Applied to College of Business for Marketing Major
-I was wrapping up my first semester in college as a Communication major. I quickly learned the negative stigma tied to this academic program and I hated it. I hated that I felt like people assumed I was stupid and complacent because I was a Communication major. 100% of the friends I made in college...and I really mean 100%...were in business. They were in honors business programs and had good things going for them....people respected them. Also, I wanted to "belong" in their business group and be in their classes. So I switched to business.
September 2014: Added International Business Major and Sociology Minor
-I loved my first semester in business. Really. I was in classes with people I already spent 100% of my time with, I got into one of the honors business programs like my friends and people respected me when I said "Yeah I'm a marketing major in KBS". I started my sophomore year, started hanging out with different people (not business people) and started taking "real" business classes. Reality hit me hard. I was miserable. I did love my job in the school's study abroad office working with international affairs, so I decided to add an International Business major. I knew that in order to survive business, I needed to take some classes outside of Business, so I declared a Sociology minor because I loved my intro to Soc course. Let me highlight. I was doing things to try to SURVIVE my college experience. (Not what it's supposed to be about.)
March 2015: Switched to Arts and Sciences as a Sociology and Communication double Major
-I was MISERABLE in business. I got my lowest GPA of my entire life in the Fall and hated every single class I was in. Worse than that, I hated all the classes on my degree audit for the next two years. I was supposed to get a Co-Op but dreaded the idea of doing business full time. Spring Semester, I signed up for all general education classes so I'd still be on track but not be taking business classes. I was taking all classes in Arts and Sciences and I love them. I love all of my classes this semester. I love my public speaking class, my writing class, and my sociology elective. I enjoy going to class everyday and I excel in the class compared to my business classes and even compared to some of my classmates. My favorite teacher of my favorite class this semester (my speech class) held me after one day to all but beg me to switch to Communication. I kept refusing and she finally asked why. The only thing I could think of was "stupid girls are communication majors". I broke down and told the teacher my hesitations very honestly. She reminded me of something and long story a little less long, I declared a Communication and Sociology double Major.
Why I am damn proud to be a Communication/Sociology Major:
In case no one told you, you shouldn't hate class. In case no one told you, you are talented and smart. In case no one told you, if you do what you love, nothing else matters. People told me those things and I never really listened. But after the roller-coaster of things I've experienced, I know them to be true. I'll be honest. I still struggle with the fact that the majority of people I tell my major to will assume things. It bothers me a lot. But it doesn't nearly bother me as much as hating every moment of my classes, failing classes, letting my parents down, letting myself down, etc does. I have to step back and remember that.
One time, I read this list of questions that were supposed to help you figure out what to do with your life. (Classic.) The question that hit me like a ton of bricks was, "What makes you forget to eat and poop?" I love this question because it doesn't ask you the cliched question, "what do you love to do?". You want to know what makes me forget to eat and poop? (Let it be known that very few things makes me forget to eat). It's this. Writing, sharing, talking, discussing, researching. I've always loved writing since grade school, through high school, blogging and now college. I'm one of the few people who love public speaking and I'm good at public speaking. When I'm preparing a speech for work, writing a paper, talking with new people, giving a tour of campus, presenting to a learning community about studying abroad, creating contests for work social media initiatives, and blogging, I forget to eat and poop. This is a solid truth I know and I've known. It took my amazing speech professor, encouraging boss, and favorite high teacher to tell me that these are real talents that I have and can use.
So yes. I am a Communication major. I'm not stupid, doing it out of complacency, or because I am an underachiever. To assume this from me or anyone reflects more on you than any of us. I'm happy. I'm using my talents, I enjoy going to class every day, I love my professors, and most of all, I'm happy. That's all I wish for everyone else.
Rereading the journal entry from October was difficult. I still struggle with expectations and I always will, it's human. I still feel a lot of pressure from my parents, friends, peers, organizations, mentors, and mostly, myself. However, I can cope with that pressure and be at peace with it when I am using my talents to their full ability in my major, in my job and my future internship.
So, I'll leave you with this:
Being in a "smart" major or program isn't inspiring.....using your talents, chasing YOUR dream and being happy is.