Columns, Opinion

No Sugar, No Cream: Don’t be afraid to deviate from your original life plan in college

This time last year, I was a somewhat bright-eyed and vaguely bushy-tailed freshman preparing to begin my first year of college. I was excited to live in a larger city than I had (until I noticed that the city of Boston gives licenses to anyone who wants one) and more excited to attend a place where all the buildings were on one street (because I didn’t foresee the horrible possibility of having to venture a mile to any class). I even had a concrete plan for my life, and I imagine God took a second to engage in a hearty guffaw when he was informed of that. Since I could remember, I had wanted to be a dentist. It might have been because I’d always enjoyed going to the dentist or because having a plan for myself has always been a part of my existence or because my dentist was a sweet, intelligent Black woman (representation matters!). Regardless of the genesis of my goal, I knew what I was destined to be.

I know now that that was never going to happen.

After my very first biology course, I told my best friend that I wasn’t going to be a dentist. After my first chemistry class, I told my parents. I was warned thoroughly about what has been ranked the hardest course at Boston University: Chem 101. I imagine Chem 101 was to my first semester what “Hell Week” is to pledges. I didn’t ignore people telling me chemistry was going to make me hate college. I publicly brushed it off and internally breathed it in wholeheartedly with both lungs, and when my time finally came, it destroyed me. Chem 101 is taught in four, separate parts. It’s long, rigorous, potentially very stressful (if organization is the last thing you’re good at, like me) and it’s not conducive to a regular, productive sleep schedule. I suffered. I tried not sleeping. It didn’t work. A word of advice: let Chem 101 scare you into working harder.

My life changed dramatically for the better the second I dropped Chem 101. My sleep schedule restored itself. I told my parents I wanted to be a journalist, which I quickly took back in the name of financial security when I saw the median income of the average journalist, and I switched my major from biology to public relations. In doing such, I became a much more enjoyable version of myself — I no longer frantically eat ramen noodles at 3 a.m., hunched over a desk with tears welling in my eyes as I attempt to understand information and units and miscellaneous rules. Instead, I go to sleep so I can be a fully functioning human being.

This year at this time, I have regressed to the cynicism I held my junior year of high school. I have a year under my belt. I keep headphones in and hope no one tries to speak to me. I try to avoid people I know on the street as not to have to pretend that I want to know how their summer went or even worse — hug them. I weave my way down Commonwealth Avenue avoiding easily-identifiable freshmen with their new, BU backpacks from their orientation sessions and bright red BU shirts. Another word of advice: don’t fear changing your major or deviating from your original plan. I changed everything about my plan, and now I get to walk happily with my head held high knowing that I never have to pretend I understand Avogadro’s number again in my life.

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