At 17 I stepped onto the University of Toledo campus 2 months early, to begin taking summer courses. I wasn’t on a plan to graduate early. I was running away from the pain of my childhood and needed to reframe my life.
I was the first in my family to go to college, and the journey to arrive on campus was a challenge in and of itself. I asked myself could I even afford it? What about financial aid and what college should I choose? With focus, I made college happen. I was ready to redefine my life on my own terms, to be free of the negative talk and experiences I’d been stuck in for so many years.
There was only one problem: I lacked direction in my career choice. Sure, college was consistently lectured to me by educators as the key to a better life, but what did I want to do? No one ever discussed personality, natural talents, gifting’s, passion, or job outlook with me in depth. They mentioned the idea, but I never navigated the path for myself. What was my professional identity?
This led to my almost weekly change of major. You could find me walking across campus to the different colleges within the university, to meet with their advisors and to officially fill out paperwork for the registrar office. I covered the gamut too – I was great at picking major; from accounting and finance to occupational therapy, social work and psychology. I was sporadic, spontaneous, and all over the map.
And this wasn’t just freshman year – all the way up until my senior year I considered changing my major, although less frequently as the years went on. After all – I was slowly but surely getting closer to having a degree!
It took five years, but ultimately I decided to major in something I was passionate about without regard to job outlook. I didn’t know what I would do with it, but I knew if I was going to spend my time studying a subject, I had better enjoy it. I landed on Religion with a minor in Psychology because I loved to hear more about ethics, how people thought, and the role faith plays in this process.
Did I have a job lined up? Nope. But was I happy in my classes? You bet. And I knew finishing any degree was smarter than dropping out from not focusing.
Part 2: Coming in March.
By Guest Writer: Michael Tatonetti