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How I Knew I Finally Picked the Right Major

Alyssa DeLuca, Director of Business Affairs

The other day I stumbled across this quote that read: “I’m so thankful I didn’t end up with what I thought I wanted.”

So I did what any “sane” person would do and I wrote it down and read it again. And then I read it again. And again. And again.

But why did this one sentence strike such a big nerve? 

Maybe it was for all of the times I felt like an outcast in a major I thought I would love. Perhaps it was the endless nights wondering what I could be doing better, being head over heels in love with a career field that did not love me back. And then it hit me – I finally realized that I am now right where I belong and how grateful I was that life went absolutely nothing like I had planned.

This blog is less of a “5 Tips To Choosing A Major” (even though I love those blogs and read them all the time, nothing against them at all) and more of an homage to those who thought they had life all planned out and it went absolutely nothing according to plan. I have been there and this is my advice to you:

I swore I was born to be an architect. I daydreamed of designing the most intricate buildings and all of the memories people would make in them. The day I got accepted into the landscape architecture program was one of the best days of my life, as I was one step closer to pursuing what I had dreamed of for so long. I had done everything to prepare myself: I worked hard, I read every book, I did work outside of the classroom, I bought every tool and resource I could find. So, as you can imagine, it felt like my world – the perfect future I had envisioned for myself – had collapsed when I failed out of the major. 

It wasn’t that I wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t that I wasn’t as talented as my classmates. I was never less than anyone, and it took me a long time to realize that and come to terms with it. The truth was, no matter how hard I tried or pretended, I just did not connect with the major. I couldn’t see myself doing this forever, or at least be truly happy doing it. But what are you supposed to do when you dream of something since childhood and get the bare grasps of it before it’s taken away? I held my head high, put on a smile, faked that I knew what I was doing, and kept going – hoping that at some point it would just click and that the doubts were just a phase. 

My denial translated to my work and my work ethic, even though I didn’t realize at the time. As much as failing out broke me, it also built me up for what came next in life. It built me up for something I could never even imagine.

When my advisor first suggested the idea of me becoming an advertising and public relations major, I almost scoffed. Me? An artist? A (self-proclaimed) creative individual working in the corporate world? I saw no correlation between the two. I was so ignorant about communications at the time that I laughed off the idea as a whole.

After giving a few other ideas for a major a shot, I still felt like I didn’t connect with anything. I hesitantly revisited the idea of advertising and public relations and, this time, I kept an open mind. Nobody could have prepared me for how much I was about to fall in love with a world I never even realized existed. 

I discovered that there’s more to advertising than just the “corporate” stereotype, there are so many layers and so many positions I didn’t even know about – some that I still learn about today. I didn’t understand the depths of the world of communications until I learned to let go of my fear of failure and dove in head first.

For the first time in my life, I was excelling in all of my classes. During my first semester as a communications major, I got a 4.0 GPA and I have been on the Dean’s List each semester since. I realized that I quickly caught up to pace with my peers and flourished because of how quick and how hard I connected with advertising. I was still able to incorporate my art and be a passionate storyteller, just in a different sense than what I was used to. When I allowed myself to open up, I became a person that I didn’t know I had within myself.

I was shocked to land my first internship in less than a year, in New York City let alone. I almost felt like I didn’t deserve it, like someone who had been in the major longer deserved my spot. I learned on the job that I was there because I worked for it and earned it. That summer and my internship was a euphoric experience. The people I met, the places I went, each day was a new adventure. I started to wonder about all of the people I have yet to meet, all of the places I have yet to go, and all of the adventures I have yet to experience. 

I wake up each morning motivated. I am excited and curious to see what each day brings for my professional career. I feel the best when I’m working on things for my internship, pondering campaign ideas for my classes, and daydreaming about the day I finally move to New York City and get to continue growing and learning. And that is how I knew I finally picked the right major. Because each morning I wake up eager and ready for more.
So, here’s my advice: the only person in charge of your failure is you. The options out there are endless, don’t ever hold yourself back and don’t rule out options just because you don’t know about them or haven’t looked into them before. You were also made to flourish and shine and I hope you find a path that makes you just as blissful as advertising and public relations makes me.

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