We have reached the time of year where people roam the streets with creative costumes that range from ghouls and goblins to favorite pop culture characters. Halloween may be notorious for dressing up and playing pretend, but as October comes to an end, we should say goodbye to pretending and greet authenticity with open arms. More specifically, we should do this when making choices about our majors and careers. Many people settle on a career or major they aren’t really happy with and don’t switch out of fear that they will be judged for “giving up.” But I’m here to explain why you should stop ignoring that “gut feeling” telling you it might be time for a change.
The idea of change can be haunted by a variety of notions such as self-doubt, fear of judgment, or the possibility that all of the time spent on the previous career or major will be wasted; although you will not find these discouraging factors in a haunted house, they are still terrifying. However, after looking at the big picture, those unspeakable fears may not seem like such a horror.
Fear of Judgement
Society has brainwashed us into thinking that being different is unacceptable. A career or major change draws attention to you both positively and negatively. What if you are viewed as a failure? What if your family and friends do not approve of your new choice? Those scenarios may very well happen, but I would rather be viewed as a failure, while making myself happy, than not reach my full potential. I know from first-hand experience about the fear of judgment and striving to please everyone.
As a freshman, everyone wants to guide you in the direction they feel is best. I had many decisions to make before I came to Ohio University and due to my indecisiveness, I struggled more than most. On top of trying to make decisions, I had family and friends giving me their opinions on things, such as whether I should commute or live on campus, where I should work, what classes to take, the clubs I needed to join, and so on. I understood that I could not make everyone happy; so I decided to do what made me happy instead and accept the reactions, positive or negative, from everyone else. After choosing to live on campus, leave my old job to come work at the Career and Leadership Development Center, register for the classes that both sparked my interests and benefitted my major, and making other decisions that I felt were best, I can now say I am halfway through my first semester of college happier than ever! In the end, deciding to go the route I wanted, made me the most content. Now everyone supports me whether they agreed with my decisions at first or not.
Fear of Lost Time
If you’re contemplating switching majors or your job, it can be hard to overlook all of the time you have spent in the classes for that major or the work you’ve done in that job. However, if you do decide to switch, remember that all of the work you did won’t wither away to nothing. You obtained knowledge, skill, credibility, and versatility from your past experiences, which will only benefit you in the future. The thought of losing seniority or wasted credits may dissuade you, but starting something you are passionate about will not only make you happier, it will also increase the likelihood of better work performance. Therefore, there is never lost time just gained knowledge. The fear of lost time should never scare you from moving forward.
Fear of Failure
Leaving a job or area of study to start fresh somewhere else is scary and you might try to avoid the change for fear of failure. However, without taking that risk, you eliminate the opportunity to succeed. Every risk is a learning experience. Therefore, even if you do not reach the goal you originally intended, you become more aware of personal strengths and weaknesses. As scary as this leap of faith may seem, you have already taken one and succeeded when you started your current job or came to Ohio University. For me, I worried about many things coming to OU. I was afraid that I would fail to make friends fail to perform my new job adequately, or that I would not reach my full potential in school. My nerves were so bad that I spent many nights restless at the thought of those fears becoming a reality. It is now week nine of the first semester and I have made countless friends, absolutely adore my new job, and although I cannot determine if I have reached my “full potential” yet, I have experienced many things as a freshman that I never imagined, such as visiting Chicago and meeting with business firms, writing blogs, and preparing for my trip to Ghana, West Africa this summer. I often look back and laugh at how worried I was because now I am living the best life I possibly could and it all started with a leap of faith.
As Halloween comes to an end and you put away the spooky decorations and costumes, put away the mask you have been hiding behind while settling for the job or major that you know just isn’t for you. Addressing your interests and skills allows you to be the best you, you can be. Instead of gravitating towards normality, go out on a limb and follow your dreams —no matter how crazy they seem. If you are unsure of jobs or majors that correlate with your interests, do some research or set up a career coaching appointment at the Career and Leadership Development Center. Remember, change is a constant in life and the only thing scarier than switching careers or majors is not following your dreams.
Take a risk and have a happy Halloween!
By Katelyn Peacock, CLDC Office Assistant