When I first arrived at the University of Delaware, I was bright-eyed and hopeful for my four years ahead. It was the moment I had always been waiting for, what had made all the late nights studying and staying in on the weekends worth it. I was prepared to work hard towards my dream of becoming a doctor, something that, while difficult, I had to achieve. I wanted to prove those who told me I would never make it, wrong.
But starting college was much more difficult than I thought it was going to be. While I was independent, moving thousands of miles away from my family was hard. They were my backbone, and I looked to them to help me whenever I was feeling weak or like I wasn’t good enough. Even though I was surrounded by other students, I felt alone, and I hadn’t really found my place on campus. College classes were much more challenging than I expected, and as a high achiever in high school, I never really knew how to ask for help because I didn’t want others to see that I was struggling.
Because of this perspective, my grades fell, and I started to wonder if I even wanted to continue on the path that I was on. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t sure what I wanted my career to be anymore.
Eventually, I found a home on campus and a friend group that supported me no matter what. I figured out better ways to study and realized how easy it was to talk to and get to know my professors, especially in my smaller Honors classes. Soon, it seemed like I was getting back on track, but it still felt like a piece was missing.
I was still aiming to be a doctor at the time, as I didn’t know what else I could be interested in. I didn’t want to completely give up, but I also wasn’t sure about whether I was as fully committed to going to medical school as I was before. When I started to take classes for my Public Health and Global Health minors, I began to feel that the passion that pushed me to become better and better in one direction had shifted elsewhere.
While I knew that I was interested in health before, I had never really learned about how interconnected it was with other social issues and areas. It became the thing that helped me rediscover the passion that I thought I had lost. I strived to learn more and decided it was something that I wanted to pursue, not only in college, but later in life as well. I finally had something that I was determined to work towards.
While changing interests in college isn’t an unusual thing, switching career paths taught me a valuable lesson: that nothing in life has to be set in stone. You don’t have to have an entire plan of how your life should go in order to achieve great things. Your dream can and will change and develop into what you’re meant to do–even if you don’t quite know it yet.
Photo Credit: https://stock.adobe.com/search?k=%22two+paths%22