Sometimes, It Takes a While to Find Your College Fit, and That's Totally Fine
All my life I’ve known what I want to be when I grow up, a dance teacher. My mom opened her studio three years before I was born and I grew up in love with dance and choreography. I never wanted to perform so I did not look into a dance program for college. Instead, I went to a beautiful liberal arts honors college about three hours from my hometown. The campus was gorgeous, the professors were intelligent and my friends were great…but I was so unhappy.
From the minute I left I knew I had made a mistake. I loved teaching more than anything and I had pulled myself away from what I love. I can admit it now four years later that I let people (and society) convince me that I absolutely had to move away for school. Now I’m here to tell you—this is not true.
I transferred to a different liberal arts college for my sophomore year, one that is only half and hour away from my town so I could teach in the evenings after class. I also moved back home. I know this can be a deal-breaker for some people depending on your family situation, but for me and my bank account, it was perfect. I saved so much money that would’ve been spent on room and board at my old school, not to mention how much lower the tuition was!
The problem my sophomore year was, I was so happy to be back at the studio, I didn’t try to reach out and connect with people at school. My major was only ok, but I was working towards a degree.
The fall of my junior year I was accepted into the Disney College program and that’s when everything started looking up. I had the semester of a lifetime working on Main Street U.S.A. I got absolutely no college credit from my school so I basically took a semester off. I made amazing friends and had experiences I will never forget. While I was there, I took a look at my life and figured out how to make it the best it can be. That’s when I discovered the strategic communication major at my college. Reading the class descriptions, I knew right away that it would be a beneficial major to help take the studio to the next level in our public relations efforts. So Spring semester of my junior year, I changed my major.
This is the point where most people are probably like “holy crap, I would never do that” while others are saying, “oh thank god, I’m not the only one.” The more people I talked to, the more I realized how many people have a crazy path to finding their place in college. So as a senior, about to graduate in December, here is my advice to anyone struggling with college decisions: do what’s right for you. I know that sounds obvious but trust me, you will be so much happier if you find the right fit. Don’t go to grad school because you automatically assume that’s the next step, only do it if you really want to learn more in your field. Travel abroad, do things that don’t make sense, because that is how you’ll find your passion.
If you had told me in high school that I would go to two different schools, have three different majors, and take a semester off to work in Disney, I would’ve said you were insane. But here I am, happier than ever with the best grades of my life, teaching 12 dance classes a week! I still can’t wait to graduate but I’ve found people in my department, both friends and professors that I’m going to miss terribly when I leave.
Don’t feel bad about making decisions that make sense for your life. Not everyone has to go to four years at a big university. For some people, college isn’t even the right choice. Just make sure you find your fit, don’t try to fit into someone else’s fit.
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