While browsing through their academic programs, I felt drawn to environmental science. I knew I wanted my career path to serve the greater good of humanity. Studying the environment seemed like a viable way to achieve this goal. I extensively researched the topic and the program requirements. From this I compiled a list of questions in a spiral bound notebook to ask on the tour.
At around 9 in the morning, the tour started. The chilly morning air hovered around 40 degrees and bit at my exposed face, but I felt fortunate to be the only person touring that day, so I could soak up all the attention at the tour stops. My sister, mother and I walked down the paths, and as I passed smiling students, I felt happy and smiled too. The bright green grass and shady trees on what I already considered my campus extended an invitation to linger.
Thrown Off Balance
The time came when I had the opportunity to ask my questions. We were ushered into the Academic Records Office where we sat in plush, red chairs. Nervously, I stared at the intimidating lady sitting at a computer in front of me. I gave her a smile.
Then, with what I considered a grown-up demeanor, I asked my first question. “So I’ve been looking at the requirements for the environmental science major and I—”
“We actually are no longer offering that major,” the lady cut in, “It just hasn’t been deleted off of the website yet. I’m sorry!”
My life was thrown off balance in the span of half a minute. All my plans and preparation, all the time I had spent, and now, I didn’t have any future to look toward. I felt broken, trying to piece together the remnants of a dream. I tried to hold back my fear, anger and misery, so I focused my attention on my hands as the controlling person inside of me cried out at the injustice. Upset at my reality, I teared up as I tried to make sense of my blue ink questions on the paper in front of me.
I managed to calm down enough to talk with the now sympathetic lady. She wanted to know if I had considered studying anything else in college. I hadn’t.
A Different Major
I got accepted to the University shortly thereafter and decided to attend even though I no longer had an idea of what I wanted to study. As an undeclared major, I ended up taking a class called Creativity and Communication. In that class of 20 students, with the red and yellow chairs that swiveled as much as my future plans did, I started to consider a major in communication. I fell in love with the content of the class and realized that with a degree in communication, I could do so many positive things in the world, which was my ultimate goal.
I’ve since declared my college major in strategic communication, a combination of journalism and public relations. As a junior, I can’t imagine myself studying anything different.
On and before that tour, I could have told you almost play-by-play how my life would turn out with an environmental science major. Often times the doors you want to open remain locked. We get so focused on that one door that we fail to see the door right next to it, the one flashing with a big, bright neon sign saying, enter here. That other door ended up being a major in communication for me. I took a step, no, long stride, away from my feelings long enough to see the other door that I had unwittingly ignored. When opened, that door proved itself to be much more than the door I had tried to force.
Mary Bagdon writes from the Pacific Northwest.
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