Follow Your Own Path

– By Mary Rose Lunde

Nowadays, there is so much pressure to follow the mainstream path. Students in Northern Virginia are pushed to the maximum, be it with advanced placement classes or college-application-boosting extracurricular activities. The stress is on students to get into a good college and graduate, to even allow themselves to get low tier jobs. The fact is, there is no way to guarantee this path even works. Some people, depending on their desired jobs, may even have to go through further testing or college to be considered. 

In college, we are told to pick out a major when we apply, and then we are thrown into what are deemed weed-out classes, under the guise of helping us make sure that we know what we want to do with our lives. The truth is that by the time you graduate, it’s likely that you will have changed your major or added a major or minor at least once. With the growing amount of available majors and minors, it has become easier to add variability to increase your qualifications and experience just a bit.

Personally, I didn’t know I wanted to become a teacher until my junior year of college. Before I entered Virginia Tech, I thought I had my whole life planned out. I believed I was going to go to college and earn a degree in biology, and then continue on to veterinary school. My third year of college, I dropped my science degree, and focused on the field that I really wanted to be in, English. I have a passion for diving into literature, for asking the big questions that transverse into side research projects that don’t count for a grade. Because of this decision, I graduated from undergrad in Spring 2017, a full year before I was supposed to. This semester, I entered the English MA program in Literature and will graduate in the spring. Eventually, I would like to become a teacher. And after that, who knows what will happen? I know my path has been unusual by many standards, but I wouldn’t change the path I’ve experienced.

Realistically, we don’t know what the future will hold. To be successful in life from a career standpoint, it is imperative to make mistakes. By learning various skills and then settling on what you want to focus your life on, you become versatile and gain experiences that will benefit you in your career. Although society may tell you differently, making mistakes is a necessity to discovering what you enjoy and would be satisfied with doing for a decent chunk of your life. If you aren’t satisfied with your major, change it, because you will be miserable in a job in that field if you don’t. Do what you enjoy and you will be successful because you are able to enjoy life. Following a different path is okay because sometimes paths aren’t meant to be followed. Sometimes, the most beautiful experiences are when you aren’t following the ingrained path.

Mary Rose Lunde is a MA student in Literature at Virginia Tech. In her undergraduate career, she changed her major six times before she graduated.

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