Beginning in childhood, the constant question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” haunts everyone. No matter where you look — in movies, shows, commercials, books — almost like a ghost that entangles you, it’s always there. We are taught that, someway, somehow, everyone just magically knows what they’re supposed to do. What we were “meant” for. Unfortunately… it’s never that easy.
When entering college, I decided on Communications as my major. It was comfortable, something I already knew. I enjoyed writing, and for as long as I could remember, teachers, my grandparents, and everyone else said that I would be a great author or journalist. In the age of social media, it was one of the easiest choices I ever made. Until I started to get into criminal shows. There was something so daunting, exciting, and adrenaline rushing about it. I began to watch shows like The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez, I Am a Killer, Unbelievable, Unsolved Mysteries, The Staircase, and Criminal: UK. They began to take up all my time. I was immersed in them. As a result, I changed my major to Criminal Justice with a focus in Criminology.
As with Communications, my fascination with Criminal Justice didn’t last long. I had always wanted to learn to play piano, and I became interested in songwriting. Now, writing songs began to take up most of my time. There was something cathartic about expressing my feelings in a musical composition. My feelings now had an outlet, one that I might make money from. It seemed perfect, so I talked to my advisor and changed my major to Music. I was so excited to start, and it was fun at the beginning, but in learning to play piano, I ran into a number of challenges. I came to realize that this wasn’t the right choice for me either, but I committed to finishing the semester.
After the semester was over, I started thinking about something that made me happy and brought satisfaction. My mind returned to Criminal Justice, and the adrenaline rush of thinking of those situations from the movies and TV shows began to consume me — again. I changed my major back to Criminal Justice. I was filled with excitement. I began to binge different true crime shows, getting my family to watch with me. I was enraptured with the idea of solving crimes and mysteries. The possibilities raced through my mind until I was dizzy.
Then, although I had no idea what was in store for me and the unknown seemed daunting, I realized that I simply couldn’t wait for what I wanted. What were my hobbies? What excited me? What was I good at? Even living out my own life, it was still hard for me to answer those questions. I had to think of something more specific. I ended up asking myself, “What was something I do most days?” and, surprisingly, I could answer that.
I spent more of my time on helping other people with their problems than I did on myself. I was a friend whose shoulder someone could cry on. I was a relationship counselor. I was a therapist to my closest friends. Once I realized that, the solution became simple. Why not try to make a career out of something that I did for free now? Though it seemed so clear on paper, the unknown still made me uncomfortable. I started researching what other majors I could go into and soon I found Human Services. It was definitely versatile, branching off into so many different paths. I decided that this was an option I was comfortable with, and once again, I changed my major. Now three months into the semester, I’m still comfortable with this decision. I didn’t have any pre-conceived expectations of what I wanted from this major, and it has turned out fine. I’m taking Human Services, Sociology: Marriage and Family, and Psychology, and it’s genuinely interesting. I’m not sure what next semester will have in store for me, but I know that right here, right now, I’m okay with belonging here.
Still Growing Up
If I had never changed my major from Communications, what would’ve happened? Would I have enjoyed it? Would I have gone through all these changes still? Then, I think of how I don’t mind getting up to go to these classes now or how I don’t mind doing any of the work, and I’m fine again. I can’t say that this will be my final major, but right now, I know this is what I’m comfortable with. Throughout all these changes, I was grateful to be at University of Bridgeport that offers so many different programs and that allows me to explore all these different aspects of my personality. I might have switched my major multiple times, but the things I learned about myself throughout these experiences are still with me. Making big leaps or drastic changes constantly may not be for everyone, but if you’re not happy or satisfied with where you are right now, I encourage you to go for a change. Do something that will change everything, and maybe it will be for the better.
Angelica Mathis, class of 2024, is a University of Bridgeport student currently majoring in Human Services. She is from Queens, New York, and her career goal is to help people in any way that she can. She wrote this article as part of the coursework for English 101: Rhetoric and Composition.