The Road Less Traveled

door of possibilities

Help yourself out by not listening to your academic adviser. Well, not solely anyways. Think of them, as well, an adviser. They give you advice, advice that is considered. They’re not a personal manager, they just get paid/keep their job, depending on how many students are going to the school. So they will probably want you to stay, a long time.

I was a year away from graduating when I went into the advisers office to talk over a different degree emphasis. After discussing that I was interested in the new emphasis, because some of my current classes, were quite frankly, boring, I was advised to change my entire degree. I think a few gen ed classes would have transferred but nothing else. It would have put me back at freshman standing. On top of switching me into the hardest department on campus, it was 110% the wrong field for me. Now, why do people think kids go through college and change majors 18 times? Well, that’s what their adviser/professors/parents told them. They say, if you are not really enjoying your classes, then you need to switch into a major where your classes are fun and enjoyable. They say, it may take you a year, or two, or three extra, but it’s worth it in the long run. I saw a system emerge as I watched my fellow students get trapped as eternal freshman.

Freshman classes are some of the hardest classes you can take. They take up a huge amount of time, there’s more homework, tests, and projects. Plus tons of group assignments. But most of all, the classes are designed to be the most demanding. Then you hit sophomore classes. Sophomore classes might not be the hardest classes, but the specific combination that kids are given, makes them near impossible to choke down. I think first semester I listened to an adviser. And then a week into that semester I went on my own and changed two of my classes. I didn’t really use advisers again except to get exceptions (I’ll talk about that later). This is how I got to see the difference between personal planning and letting an adviser choose.

Courses are set up so that you need A before you can take B, and B before you can take C, and C before you can take D. But this is for 8 semesters/4 years of college courses. Thus, the seniors I was in class with, who had been listening to their advisers, had say 15 credits left. But those 15 credits were going to take a year and a half to complete because they all built off each other. The adviser would say, gee, why didn’t you already take that class. You were supposed to take that when you were a freshman. And the student would respond, I’ve just been taking the classes you told me to take.

There might be some very nice advisers, but don’t base your degree off what they are saying. You’ll be the only one hurt by their planning failures. That was a long sidetrack, but my point is students listen to their advisers when planning their schedule. I didn’t, so I set up my years of class schedule based on common sense. The other students didn’t fair so well. And this is why sophomore year is the worst. After very hard and challenging freshman classes, students are scheduled 5 of the hardest, toughest, uninteresting, complex classes that you have to take throughout your degree. It hits students so hard, that they question what major they want to be in. Then, the adviser quickly pushes them back to freshmen in another degree program. A year later, the same thing happens, and the adviser does the same thing. Parents, teachers, and advisers all say if your not enjoying your classes, then your in the wrong degree.

Round and round the cycle goes till they’ve been a on-off again freshman, sophomore, for years. At this point, they are truly convinced there is something wrong with them. Why can’t I figure out what I want to do? Why is nothing enjoyable? What’s wrong with me that my classes are so hard? To counteract the plummeting self esteem, they are getting mounds of student debt. Not fun. So, don’t change your major. Get your degree and get out. The advisers speech to me had no effect 1) because the other degree sounded awful, and 2) because I was already working in that career field and loved it. When everyone says you need to enjoy your classes to enjoy that career field, don’t buy it.

If you still think your degree is the wrong fit, but changing will push you back, I still think you should just finish. There are so many jobs that don’t care what degree you had, just that you got one. If you have figured out what you want to really do, great. Get a minor in it. I added minors and multiple areas of emphasis to my major, without having to take extra credits, and now I can qualify for multiple career fields. Most people will never know what job they will love until they get out of school. But, once out, there are limitless doors that can open for you. The world is your playground. And there are really incredible opportunities waiting for those who are willing to find them.

Good Luck out there!

This entry was posted in Academics, advice, best years, careers, classroom, college, emotions, Professors, your life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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