College, to most of us when we were teenagers, symbolized a long sought dream, a lively and active period after a generally monotonous school life. And after years of painting incomplete images about college, you finally get to taste what it’s really like. As you venture into this new life, you may notice how the post-college-acceptance period is usually that of celebration, in which every one of your schoolmates boasts about his/her new major, and where photos of newly issued IDs are extensively shared on social media. Relatives start showering you with congratulatory calls and you start hearing comments about you being the best doctor, engineer, artist or businessman who’s ever lived. You start feeling satisfaction finally filling your heart after months of typical admission worries and anxiousness. You start with determination, vowing to do your best to reach your dreams. But, unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone. For some, college can be about feeling completely lost, setting foot on an ambiguous territory full of uncertainties and doubts. Some of these feelings are definitely natural to experience as you embark on something new, but sometimes they highlight what needs to be reconsidered. However, one can either go with the flow, disregarding doubts, or start taking them into consideration.
Personally, my initial feeling about joining college was utter excitement. After all, it was finally a new period of my life after the long school phase. I joined Engineering and life was all good, making new friends, getting along with the new lifestyle and making the most out of the extracurricular activities offered. I still got to attend all the lectures and tutorials, never missing an important word. Balancing all the aspects of a typical college student’s life, I made sure my grades were good and my social life strong. Nevertheless, not long before the first semester final exams, doubts slowly started creeping in. I did not enjoy whatever was being said in the lectures. I studied but never felt fulfilled. I learned about the different career paths in my major but never seemed to be excited. Something was wrong. Simply put, I felt empty. Did I make the right choice? Was Engineering the right thing for me? All these debilitating doubts came down striking at a critical time when I should have been focusing on finals, and they continued to strike unsympathetically. I disrupted my friends in the middle of lectures and asked them if they actually liked what the professor was explaining, and a set of yesses was what I got. I remember another time I was solving an assignment with a friend and I mumbled loudly, “who even likes this stuff?!”, and to my surprise she replied, “I do! I absolutely love the logic involved in Math. It may be complicated at times, but I cannot say I do not enjoy it.” And it finally hit me, Engineering was not for me.
As for me, I love science. But never did I enjoy the works of math; I was merely good at it. And as it turns out, being good at something is of minute importance; it is simply not enough. I had to assess my choices. Engineering was not fulfilling to me. I took myself to the university library where I could check the courses offered in different majors and tried to relate. I tried to find where I really fit. I looked through those shelves searching for the section I could call mine, and it was not easy. But here is an essential tip about choosing your future life path: trust yourself. Nobody other than yourself knows you better. You can seek advice, or gain insight about different things that weren’t initially on your mind, but, in the end, it all comes down to your inner voice. People generally tend to shun change. They like to put fixed labels on everyone they meet, confining them into their limited perceptions. If you ever choose to do something different or unexpected, it won’t feel right to them. A person already perceived as a doctor cannot just decide to be an artist, or an engineer just cannot choose to be an economist. Because it doesn’t sound consistent, it is deemed insane. Some will tell you to cast these doubts aside and just focus on what you’re doing because everything will eventually work itself out, while others will regard the idea of transferring as running away from an assigned responsibility. But after all, aren’t you the one who should get to choose your own responsibilities?
Never lend too much ear if it’s going to drain your own inner thoughts. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I’ve always searched for meaning behind everything, and particularly behind what we call life. I always had this sense of curiosity, always trying to unlock life’s mysteries and complexities. I felt I wanted to explore the life sciences. Maybe I discovered this a bit late, but at least I did. From this point on, I knew that change was imminent and that where I was staying was not where I was meant to stay. And after long weeks of confusion, I filled out the Faculty Transfer form.
And it got me to where I am now. I am a Pharmacy & Biotechnology student who loves what he’s learning about. I also joined GUC-SPSA (Scientific Pharmaceutical Students’ Association) earlier this year. The way chemistry and biology intertwine in such harmony just gets to me. It feels right carrying my lab coat around with me every day. It is as if my soul approves of my decision. I knew I was in the right place the moment I read the first slide in the first biology lecture that had nothing written on it except, “What is life?”
If you’re in the midst of a whirlpool of “Am I in the right place?” please do your own thorough research, both about your character and interests, and about the possible paths available. You have to dig deeper into yourself to know what enriches it and what does not. Only you will know this. Use people’s opinions, but never let them decide your path. Do not follow the guidelines set by friends, relatives or someone far away who happened to get it right. It is better late than never to take a life-defining decision such as transferring faculties. Time will tell how much you will thank yourself later on. Last but not least, remember that if something doesn’t feel right, it is probably because it isn’t.
Good luck finding your path!