College Advice From a College Dropout

I hate to say it (and believe it), but it’s back to school time. Where I live, schools are already back in session which means it’s almost that time for colleges too. I too, am dragging my butt back to college on the 20th (or to Starbucks with my laptop. Online school for the win!). I’m starting college, again (Yes-again) this year. I hated college so much. I even wrote a 3-part series about how much I hated college. So why am I going back to school if I hate it so much? Well, Friends- I know what I want to do with my life now. I am not a piece of clay for an academic advisor. I have a plan.

As much as I didn’t want to go to college when I was 18, I was still slightly excited to have a chance to discover new passions and reinvent myself. After all- that’s what you’re supposed to do in college, right? Right. Don’t let anyone tell you any differently (and believe me, they will try to).

The first time I met with an advisor at the university I was going to attend, we a had a conversation that I had no idea would mess me up for years after. I had no idea what I wanted to major in. Even at that point, all I knew was that I wanted to be able to travel. Going in, I said I was potentially interested in majoring in sociology and she immediately shut that down. “Are you an athlete?” She asked me, questioningly. “No…” I said. “Don’t major in sociology. That’s what we call the athlete major. It’s an easy diploma.” Yes- let’s forget the fact that I thrived in my sociology class in high school and was intrigued by every ounce of information I took in during that course -but also, that’s downright wrong for someone who specializes in academic success to say -and believe. I decided not to declare a major to start out even though, my gut feeling told me to do so anyway.

When I went back to register for classes I was sitting next to a girl who was telling me her academic plans and she seemed so excited. She was telling me how excited she was to start taking Arabic classes and sociology classes. Her advisor was so supportive. I told my advisor that I wanted to take Mandarin (if I couldn’t have soc classes, I would at least have the language I wanted) but she enrolled me in Spanish 202 insisting that anything else would be dumb.

I had a miserable semester but I’m not blaming one lady in particular for it- it’s my own fault for not standing up for myself (and my most costly learning experience that’s for sure). I just want you to know that you do have choices. If someone who doesn’t know you and bases their whole knowledge of you off of a quick glance at your transcript consisting mostly of classes you were forced to take by law tries to convince you they know what’s best for you, you don’t have to listen to them.

You’ve known yourself for 17, 18, 19+ years. If you know what you want (or quite frankly, even if you don’t), don’t let someone who only knows your first name from glancing at a piece of paper tell you what you want. You have choices and I just want to make that known to you.

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