Wednesday, 3 August 2016

I Was In The Wrong Faculty (Twice).... And I Don't Regret It

When I grow up.... I don't know what to be

During pre-university years, I was like every young adolescent; I was constantly switching what I wanted to be when I grew up. I started out wanting to become a teacher. As a child, I loved my teachers so much that I wanted to follow in their footsteps one day. Then I suddenly discovered a deep love for dinosaurs - and no, I wasn’t six. I was sixteen. I then decided that being a paleontologist was the only career for me. But, that dream soon started to fade away as I entered a job as a beauty advisor and discovered my passion for skincare. At that point, a dermatologist seemed to be the perfect career for me. So, I enrolled at the University of Alberta in the faculty of Science.

The first semester went seemingly well. I liked my classes for the most part. Although I had decided that dermatology could be my future path, I hadn’t entirely given up on my paleontology dreams either, so I snuck one paleontology course into my schedule. Unfortunately, it did not work out in my favour. It turned out to be the lowest grade I have ever earned (or hopefully will ever earn) during my university experience. I could kiss my dreams of being a paleontologist goodbye. Second semester was even worse. I discovered that my dislike for Bio in high school continued into university. How could I be a dermatologist when I hated Biology this much? Suddenly, my future seemed so uncertain.

I was never a student who thought that she would switch faculties. Before entering university, I thought I would stick with Sciences no matter what happened. I thought I could power through it and end up with a career that I would love. But the more Science courses I took and the more research I did about the careers that I could end up with, the more I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach that I wasn’t on the right path. I tried to ignore that feeling as much as I could. My mom urged me to stick with Science. I tried to urge myself to stick with Science. I didn’t want that year to go to waste. But, I knew deep down that something wasn’t right.

So, I thought back to my elementary school years and remembered how desperately I wanted to be a teacher. I decided to stay true to my roots and for my second year of university, I enrolled in the Faculty of Education. All that summer before second year, I convinced myself that this was the right choice for me. All of my friends assured me that I would make such a cool and fun teacher. I was excited about the possibilities of inspiring little kids like my teachers had inspired me. But, like my first year, this sense of excitement was short-lived.

On the very first day of my second year of university, I realized I had yet again made the wrong choice. I still wasn’t where I belonged. I just didn’t have the passion or patience to be teaching young children. This wasn’t what I wanted to be doing for the rest of my life. I guess what scared me was feeling that if I stuck with the Faculty of Education, my future was all but locked in. I would become a teacher. I didn’t feel like there weren’t any alternative paths I could take in Education. It was final. I was too uncertain to be on what I thought was a one-way road, so I started exploring other faculties. Yet again.

By this time, my friends were starting to joke more than ever that I would eventually try out every faculty at the U of A. They didn’t understand that I felt the need to try certain programs so that I could test out my interests and see if they were simply things that I liked or things that I loved and needed to do. Trying out different programs and courses was the only way I could find the one that I would truly fit into.

Heading into my third year I started to investigate faculties that felt like they had programs that would lead to my more open-ended interests. (i.e. I needed to pick a faculty because I liked the courses and not because I thought it would lead me to my image of a very specific career.) Business fit that description perfectly. There were so many different majors and minors that offered endless possibilities for me. I felt a hint of self-assurance that I was now on the right path. It wasn’t all smooth sailing from there however. I had a huge emotional breakdown on the first day in Business. I felt I was entering a faculty that was too challenging for me. There are few things more intimidating to me than group presentations, Excel, and Accounting. But I decided to give things a chance. I soon found that I truly had a passion for the world of Business and I began to pass everything with flying colours. It turns out that I’ve found my best fit!

However, when my friends, and people in general, hear that I’ve been in three faculties in three years, I get very mixed responses. Although supportive and happy for me, they always ask me if I regret wasting so much money and time trying out all these different programs. But my answer is always a very heartfelt “no.” And when they ask me why, I’m happy to tell them that I cherish my experience because that whole journey led me to where I am meant to be: the School of Business.

Because I tried out both the faculties of Sciences and Education, I don’t have to wonder if they would have been right for me. If I had of gone straight into Business, I might still be questioning if I would have fit better in a different program, but now I know for certain that they were not the right choice for me. There are no more “what-ifs” in my head. In addition, I really don’t feel like I wasted any time at all. Sure, I have to do an extra year of my undergrad, but that’s probably for the best. I could not imagine graduating next year. I have really enjoyed my university experience and I am so thankful for another year. I would be way too sad to be graduating in eight months. Plus, I feel like I have gained a tremendous amount of experience. It’s not like all the Science and Education classes I took just went to waste. They each taught me different things and helped me to grow as both a student and an adult in general. After all, they were what led me on the path to Business.

So, if you are in a faculty that you don’t feel like you completely belong in, don’t ever feel afraid to switch. It’s totally okay to try out different programs and find where your passion truly lies. It can be an incredibly frustrating journey at times but once you land in the faculty where you belong, you will feel at peace! It will all be worth it. Just because the faculty wasn’t your first choice doesn’t mean it was the wrong choice. And for those of you who are just commencing university and not sure if you are entering the right program, do not fret either! Your first year of university is the perfect time to experiment with courses and see what you like and maybe don’t like so much.  The University of Alberta offers such a large variety of courses and programs, so sometimes it can feel so overwhelming to have to pick just one area to focus on. But, I promise that every course you do take will end up teaching you something valuable; after all, no opportunity to learn is a wasted one. Every experience will bring you one step closer to your goal of finding your perfect fit.

Taylor - YouAlberta Contributor

Taylor is in her fourth year, trying out her third faculty. After getting a taste of Sciences and Education, she decided Business was truly the faculty for her. When she is not studying for that elusive 4.0 GPA, you can find her glued to her computer, writing a new post on her personal style & beauty blog, And if she gets bored of that, you can most definitely bet she’s busy taking countless Snapchats of her Goldendoodle, Oakley. 

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