One of the things about the first couple of years of university is the capacity for change. Not only are you changing as a person as your ideas and beliefs are challenged through both classes and contact with other students, but you also tend to change your mind about classes a lot. I’d like to tell you a story.
I have one friend who started out studying history at the same university I’m at now, but then her scholarship was dropped and she was forced to drop out of school. She spent the rest of that semester working and then enrolled in college for the January semester to study criminology. She did that for a semester, decided it was too impractical and did the next (September) semester in business. This bored her to bits so she considered transferring again back to criminology. Before she had done this however she decided to move in with her boyfriend in a nearby city. At the moment she’s considering pastry school.
Now, her story is probably more extreme than many, but it makes the point. When you’re our age you don’t really know where you’re going, or how you’re going to get there. When I was 13 years old I decided I wanted to be a lawyer. I completed high school with the type of single minded determination that you often see in people who make up their mind that young. I ended up having to take a year off school when my grandmother died so I spent the year working and counting down the days until I could start university.
University came. My first year I knew what I wanted to do for the most part, unlike many other people who start university with no clue. I was going to major in Political Science and have a minor that I had not yet identified. After my first semester I decided that minor would either be Religious Studies or English. By the time I finished second semester I thought either Women’s Studies or English, and as for poli sci, I was going to concentrate on either international relations or comparative politics (definitely NOT poltical theory!). By the time I registered for classes I had my mind made up. I was going to double major in Political Science and English.
I’m in second year now and nearing the end of my first semester. This semester I’m taking a class on European integration and the European Union. I absolutely love it. My school offers a political science degree with a concentration in European Studies. In order to do this I would have to get rid of my English major and rework my entire second semester. I would need to take more classes in a European language, in my case this would be Spanish as I’ve finished first year Spanish already (although I’d like to take some Italian and some German classes if possible) and a multitude of classes in different disciplines that connected to Europe. Another requirement of the program is to spend a semester abroad, either a school term, or because I’m in co-op, a co-op work term. This excites me to no end, but I know it would be difficult and expensive (although there is funding available).
I’m seriously considering switching into this program, but I’m going to talk to the European Studies people before making any major decisions and overhauls. To top it all off, I’m not sure I want to be a lawyer anymore, some days I consider going to grad school and then going on and becoming a prof. And if I switch into this program I might find something else I want to do altogether.
Sometimes I miss the days where my mind was set in stone and I did not even consider anything else, but considering something else is kind of the point of getting a university education. I don’t know whether I will switch, but I like to think 5 years down the road I’ll be happy I at least considered it.