I’m nowhere near an expert on academic success, but I think I have some potentially helpful tips on how to excel in whatever field of study you decide to go with when you choose your major or change your major.
I was lucky enough to know what I aspire to be by the time I was 16, and I know that I am one of a minority in that. Victim’s advocacy has and always will sound like a dream for me, and I will do whatever it takes to get there. I’ve heard endless complaints from people my age and even older that they have no idea what they want to do with their lives. I think that’s totally valid because though my confidence in my choice came from my love of school mixed with other things, not all share my excitement for choosing a path that they feel they’re permanently attached to. But I also think that people are easily influenced by their families, friends, and teachers as to what they should lean towards professionally. I never experienced that, because I’m very sure of myself and of what I believe I’ve been put on this earth to do. My first piece of advice is to choose your major based on nobody other than yourself; make sure that you take guidance with gratitude, but never let someone else make the decision for you.
The second and most important encouragement I can give is to base your major off of your true passions. Disclaimer: this is just my stance, and I do think it is important to evaluate your realistic strengths and your work values. But I believe that if you choose what you want to do based off of what kind of money you will make, what others will think of you and the extent of how ambitious your choice can impress yourself, you may not make the right choice. If you are truly passionate about something you want to see improve or grow in the world, then there are no limits on what you can do with that. Yes, money is a good motivation. Yes, I think everyone should challenge themselves. But there is a way to keep those things in mind while still focusing on what you really care about. Because when there is devotion, nothing and no one can stop you from accomplishing your goals and from being successful.
The last important thing to keep in the back of your mind is the light at the end of the tunnel. For me, whenever I start to struggle in school or get discouraged, I think of the change I’m going to make in others’ lives as an advocate for victims and children, and that stress turns to inspiration. Though it is important to enjoy the journey, thinking of the end game helps make it feel more like reality. If you are working towards something that really matters to you, I promise that when you think of your future self, the hard work will seem more than worth it.
And if we all make choices based off of research, passions and aspirations to make the world a better place, then I see a bright and successful future ahead.
-Grace Brown, Fall 2019 UPIC Intern