I am what some would call your “typical” college student, from studying biomedical sciences to computer programming to marketing. At first, I felt like I was incapable of doing anything right. Going from a straight A student to failing out of core classes left me feeling unintelligent and unmotivated. Eventually, I realized all those setbacks (failing Chemistry and barely getting through computer programming) were only pushing me down a different path, one I could walk along without falling on my face. Though I do not advise taking your sweet time figuring it out like I did, one extra year in college never hurt anyone (other than your bank account) and is not an embarrassment.
I want to reach out to fellow students that didn’t know their passion since birth. The students who wanted to be a princess when they were little, and sadly you can’t major in that. I want to reach out to fellow students who still need time to figure out what they want to do. I want to show them that it may be frustrating to be “behind” but giving up will never push you towards your goal, or something close to it. So here’s my story and I hope it makes you guys feel a little less alone and a little more motivated.
Coming into college I was going to major in the medical field to become some kind of doctor like my family expected, and I sort of liked the idea of physical therapy. That’s when my freshman biology final happened- and no, it wasn’t the test that made me realize the medical field wasn’t for me: right in the middle of the exam one of the students started seizing, I’m talking foam from the mouth, eyes in the back of his head, seizing. Honestly, I cried. The ambulance came right away as we continued taking our final, me still teary eyed, but thankfully he was OK. That experience made me conscious of the fact that I am far too emotional to work in those kind of high stress situations. And if it wasn’t just my reaction to the seizure, it was my reaction to Chemistry 1A that pushed me out of the medical track completely. I was disappointed. I was scared. I was lost.
What was I supposed to change my major to when I had no idea what I wanted to do in the first place? I did a lot of soul searching (mostly online) and that’s when it hit me, I love working with computers and I’m pretty darn good at it. Though I had finally discovered my calling I still went on to make my biggest mistake in college, and though I’m not proud to admit it, that’s saying a lot: I chose a major for the money.
While I loved the aspects of digital media, I opted to make that my minor and chose computer programming as my major. Any statistic will tell you that computer programming is the highest grossing major right now. It was interesting to learn the programming language. It had me thinking how basic things were coded and how much of our world is programmed. That being said, it did not excite me enough. I couldn’t imagine myself at a desk programming all day. It wasn’t something I woke up wanting to practice, not even a little. But thanks to a required assignment in one of the career professionalism courses I took a Myers-Brigg personality test and that’s where I came across a “marketing management” position in my top ranked careers based off my results. I looked into the kind of positions and careers the marketing field had to offer and that’s when I stumbled across digital marketing. Then, as another suggestion from Lonny Butcher and the career courses, I attended a meeting at The Exchange with “Purple Rock Scissors”, a company of digital trade that works on emerging technology and endorsing it in an “entrepreneurial environment”. The vice president, senior media strategist and marketing specialist spoke to us about digital marketing today and in the future, I really enjoyed their pitch and plan on reaching out to them for an internship. All in all it further validated the fact I really did love digital marketing. Finally, I had something to look forward to. I kept my minor in digital media and switched over to marketing for my major, where I am currently waiting acceptance.
I may have taken a few classes I didn’t need, cried on campus over grades, used all my grade forgiveness way earlier than intended and had some serious low moments of feeling like a loser, but I found comfort in marketing. And I think that’s when you know you found something that you actually wouldn’t mind doing for the next 40+ years of your life. You feel comfortable, things get a little easier and you find yourself more engaged in every aspect of your life.
My path to success (or at least my terms of it) was a long bumpy ride but I encourage you to never get to the point of calling yourself a failure, pick yourself up and keep looking for something you can succeed at.
Now I wont bore you with more of my story but before I sign out I would like to share some tips for any student at UCF that I am positive will help along the way:
- Even if it’s a lecture/capture go once and make CLASS FRIENDS, they’re great reminders of upcoming due dates & people to study with
- Advisors are your best friends, go as much as you can!
- Get use out of UCF’s free tutoring system! SARC rocks
- Set goals (e.g. finish general education classes by freshman summer or make the deans list at least once) – sounds obvious but with the whole college life it’s easy to get lost in the moment
- Planners are your next best friend, or at least your iPhone reminders
- Have a class schedule, college is not the place to be “laissez-fare”
- Go to career fairs on campus- these employers are looking for fresh faces and students otherwise they wouldn’t be recruiting on campus
- Remember failure is the first step to success
Dallas Scott, Junior, Pre-Marketing/ Digital Media