Just Keep Swimming

12 Sep

In the hustle and bustle of the beginning of freshman year, everything seems to go by so quickly. So many opportunities get thrown at you and before too long your head starts spinning with all of the possibilities. In many ways, that is the beauty of college – you can become who you were meant to be! Some of the opportunities that interest you the most may be things you never would have imagined could be a good fit. My entire college journey has been a mixture of absolute uncertainty and questioning my decisions. Don’t stress too much if you’re in that spot too, it’s hard to believe it now but everything will work out in the end.

Freshman year:

I came to UA as a pre-med student, but the more I explored the options available to me I realized it wasn’t quite the right path for me. I ended up changing my major 5 times between orientation and the beginning of sophomore year. Thankfully, they all had overlapping courses so I was still on track to graduate in four years. One of the most helpful classes I had that year was a 1 unit health professions exploration colloquium. Between the guest speakers for that class and the many mentors in my life I found the perfect major.

Sophomore year:

At this point, I knew I liked my major because I was actually enjoying my classes. Every day I felt really excited about all of the options my chosen field had to offer. In all of the excitement I started to get scared because I could not narrow down my interests to one career. Instead of stressing out too much about this, I decided to just go with the flow and take the time to keep exploring rather than trying to tie myself down to one thing.

Junior year:

Last year, I was able to narrow down to two or three options that I felt extremely passionate about. I spent more time researching how to get started in those fields to start to identify what my life after college could look like. Talking with professors in my field really helped me realize that most professionals had a journey filled with uncertainty and change too, which reassured me a lot.

Senior year:

During the summer, I took on an internship that gave me a lot more insight into a potential career path. While it may not have been exactly right for me, it did help me do a lot more thinking about what careers truly fit with my passions. One day I watched a YouTube video and I learned that public health law exists as a career. Immediately, I made an appointment to sit down with a pre-law advisor to discuss how to showcase my journey in my applications. Finally, after all of the confusion my path forward has action steps.

When the future seems scary or intimidating, just keep swimming! Don’t discount yourself or your abilities, if you put your mind to it you can make it happen. No two people here at the U of A are the same, your experiences won’t be identical either. If you’re like me and need a lot of structure, let yourself be a little uncomfortable in the confusion for a bit. When you do finally find the right path, you will know.

-Gabriela

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