Has anyone ever asked you what your dream job is, and you suddenly become self-aware? You want to voice what you dream of doing, but you're so afraid you'll never achieve this dream, so you change it to something more attainable.
It has happened to me -- a lot. You see, when I was little, I wanted to be Mexico's president.
When we're younger, we feel more capable of achieving anything, but as we grow old, we start stumbling upon reality checks in the form of gender, minority or economic hardships.
We change, and suddenly, that dream of being an astronaut is buried under the comfort of becoming an accountant.
For a similar reason, along with my own personal disgust toward Mexican politics (corruption, ties to organized crime, murders, etc.), I decided to major in marketing communications. It was a safe and flexible decision, and with the right focus, you can apply marketing to everything from politics to engineering to social justice.
My mantra was, "If you're going to do marketing, then you might as well be the best." I tried getting involved in all marketing things for my freshman year and part of my sophomore year.
I joined all the marketing societies I found interesting or relevant, tried handing in A-level campaigns and even forced myself to follow the latest marketing trends and news. But even with all that, I couldn't push myself to go over the line. It was exhausting.
I kept comparing myself to other students who truly loved marketing; I was getting frustrated. At one point, I joined organizations dedicated to social justice and diversity, but even then, surrounded by people who also had a goal of making the world a better place, I was still angry.
I attended, but never really took a leadership role because I felt my marketing degree was going to be useless, and therefore, I felt incapable of handling things.
All the while my friends said to me I shouldn't let my degree define me, or tell me what I can do. "Yeah," I said, dismissing them. And that's basically how I spent freshman year to junior year at Emerson: in constant frustration because I hated my major.
Eventually, one day, in the middle of a class called "Arab Uprisings," I realized that regardless of my major, I'd still been following what I love, just not fully.
I'd been taking classes about revolutions, social movements and social behavior, and I realized I can do anything I want. Then I learned that my professor, who was talking about hegemony, Orientalism, economics and dictatorships, had studied engineering. I almost fell off my chair.
'If an engineer is talking about revolutions, then a marketer can talk about corrupt communication campaigns between the media and the government,' I thought.
Some months later, I still have a slight eye twitch whenever people say, "Oh, you're a political communications major, right?" and I correct them, but I'm definitely happier.
When it finally clicked that I love people and justice more than my frustration toward marketing, I felt much better. When I let my true interests take over and speak, I felt more confident of myself, even as a marketer.
So, if, for whatever reason, you're majoring in something you don't like, and you have an idea of what you truly want to do, here are some tips to handle your college years, free of frustration.
What do you want to major in? Can you afford it? Can you switch out? What are the costs and the benefits? If you really know what you want to do for the rest of your life, then go ahead; do it, but don't focus fully on that.
Be smart about the classes you take. You never know what that "Introduction to Business" course can do for you in case of an emergency. I know it may sound horrible, but it's a truth.
Get a minor.
If you're majoring in music, you can still get a minor in music. I've met marketing majors who have minors in theatre, and do marketing campaigns for shows and troupes.
It's all possible.
Integrate both disciplines.
It's one thing to minor in what you love, and another to integrate it into your major with love. This means using the skills from your passion in your major and vice versa.
Join clubs and societies.
Whether they're on-campus or off-campus, join clubs and societies where you can develop the skills necessary to pursue your passion. Join a music band and use your business skills to land gigs and maybe make some money on the side.
Not only will you be developing your skills, you will also be meeting people who share your passion and who you could learn from.
Learn from me.
Yes, it is very frustrating to feel like you don’t have direction because you don’t like your major, but don’t let it get to you. Take advantage of what you’re learning, and try to develop your own passions on the side.
It’s extra work, yes, but if you truly have a passion, then you know it’s worth it.
Enjoying your major is definitely all about perspective and what you do on the side. Don't let your major on paper determine what you will do with your future.
Your passion is what drives you; let it guide you through your college years and be true to yourself.
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