Imagine this: You have a bright future ahead — you earned decent grades in high school, high enough to land a comfy seat in the premier public Ivy of your resident New York state. College is scary when you first arrive, but it easily becomes the best time of your life. Two years go on like this and life is great. Sounds like a dream, right?
A test grade comes back that settles a smidgeon of doubt in your head. You tell yourself it’s a fluke, that you’ll recover with the next test. A few weeks later, it turns out you underperformed again, and you chalk it up to too much time on Fortnite when you should’ve been hitting the books. Next test is going to be your saving grace, you tell yourself. I think you see where this is going — and if you don’t, you failed that test, too.
Looks like you’ll have to withdraw or fail. How lovely. Mom would be proud! Normally this can be forgiven; you just suck it up and try again. Here’s the problem with that: It’s the third time you did this in two years and you need these classes to graduate with the degree of your choice. With a heavy heart, you resign yourself to withdrawing a third time, but thankfully, not from college entirely.
What’s left to do when you must face that you aren’t meant to be a musician, engineer, doctor, lawyer, teacher or, in my case, astrophysicist? Admit it! Tell yourself the truth: Maybe this isn’t meant for me. Next, talk about it. Talk to your friends, your family, your adviser and most importantly, yourself. You want to be secure in your decision, so give yourself time to explore your options and ultimately feel good about what you’re doing.
I’ve spent a good while ruminating about how I should best handle the pickle I find myself in. Luckily, it’s not a big dill (ha ha). I can choose to look at it from two angles — either I grovel in self-pity for a potentially dead-before-I-even-started career, or I can see it as the liberation it truly is. Sticking to a life goal is a respectable avenue, but so is letting the winds of life carry you to unforeseen heights of greatness. Before I get too poetic, allow me to elaborate.
The Washington Post reported that only 27 percent of college graduates end up working in a job related to their major, and even more dismally, only 13 percent of people in the workforce enjoy their work. Fortunately, there’s no reason that you must be confined to these despairing odds when you find yourself at the career crossroad. I’m satisfied knowing my newfound English major allows me to maintain my involvement in physics through research and clubs.
Before you put this paper down, I encourage you to think about your passions. No, really, think about it right now. What do you like to do in your free time? Be it pumping iron or watching Vine compilations, there’s something there worth pursuing, like a nursing or cinema major. Channel your energy into pursuing what makes you happy and the success you seek might just end up finding you. As for me, I’ve accepted that physics will only be a smaller part of the picture, and that’s OK. I don’t know what kind of career I’ll end up in, and there’s a good chance you don’t either. Uncertainty doesn’t equate to failure. I’ll still go for the minor and leave Binghamton University with a degree reflective of the work I’d love to do. Wouldn’t you want to do the same?
I love English. I’d always find myself writing poems in the margins of my physics notes, never the other way around. Hell, I’ve written over 500 poems in the last two years alone. Does that not scream an English major? I’m volunteering to change my career path because I knew it was the wiser option, but if you happen to love your practical major, keep at it. If another major better suits you, however, ask yourself what Stephen King asked me: “If God gives you something you can do, why in God’s name wouldn’t you do it?”
Evan Moravansky is a sophomore majoring in English.