Written by: Mayson
My dream going into college was to become a dentist. For as long as I can remember, I knew that I wanted my career choice to be centered around helping people. Being the child of an orthodontist, the dental community seemed like a pretty great fit. The more research I did on dentistry, the more excited about it I became. I could literally imagine myself running a practice, filling cavities, and connecting with patients. So, when it came time to move in Freshman year of college, I had convinced myself that I was ready to go and pursue this career option wholeheartedly.
And that’s what I did. I got into college, and showed up with complete confidence that I was going to be the best dentist in the entire world. But as soon as I began my studies and the rigorous courses that are required for dental school, I was shocked. I’m going to be honest—school was always pretty easy for me. I finished high school in the top 5% of my graduating class, so when I started receiving grades on exams that were C’s and D’s consistently, I honestly didn’t know how to cope with it. I would call my family in tears every Friday after I received my exam grade not understanding what I had done wrong, and why my hours and hours of studying hadn’t paid off.
On top of the grades, being on the “Pre-Dental track” was something I was completely unprepared for. It was being told that you’re probably not good enough to make it, that you were in competition with everyone else in the program, and that the only way to get there was to literally give up everything outside of coursework.
As time began to pass and I was feeling the weight of all of this, I realized that I had to decide if I was willing to give up everything for this dream. For my major.
I knew what I needed to do and what was best for me. I knew I needed a different path, but that really didn’t make the decision any easier. There were always the “what if” questions that would come in my head, and I didn’t know if I’d feel regret once I made the decision. But after much prayer, consideration, and many conversations with my family, I decided that my quality of life needed to be a priority for me. So, I made the decision to switch majors.
Although it’s honestly been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made to move to the “Pre-Dental Hygiene” track, that certainly doesn’t mean that the decision making process wasn’t hard. Sometimes I feel like a failure, like I gave up on a dream without giving it a real shot. Sometimes I feel like other people think less of me because I couldn’t stick out what I had intended to do when I got to college. These thoughts have definitely been ones that I have had to work through, but slowly I’m starting to believe the truth—
· There is NO shame in switching your major. SO MANY people do, because you really don’t know what you like until you try it.
· You didn’t fail at a dream. You simply redesigned your dream to fit your reality.
· There are so many respectable career options. You can literally do so many things. NEVER feel trapped in something that doesn’t show your strengths.
· You’re not locked into anything even if you’ve declared a major.
· Your worth is NOT found in a test grade. Or a career choice.
I’m really excited to see where my new path takes me. I know that there are big things ahead, and it’s been such an eye-opening experience finding a career choice and a major that’s right for me.
So--what’s my dream now? My dream is to be confident in my passions, and pursue them unreservedly. I don’t know if that means I’ll definitely be a hygienist for the rest of my life, or if that’s even going to be what I end up doing at the end of college. But what I do know is that this new dream allows me to feel free from the pressures of knowing exactly what I want to do, and gives me a fresh perspective to continue to grow into myself and discover the things that make me excited.