It was the normal
routine while checking my OU email during my freshman year. There was one email
that kept grabbing my attention—an email that I was ignoring for a reason.
Since I was an undecided student, the First Year Advising Center required me to
schedule a couple meetings with an adviser to figure out which path I wanted to
take the rest of my schooling down.
I coasted through
most of my freshman year without a worry. Class five days a week (total
freshman move, right?), work on the weekend, rinse and repeat. Everything came
to a halt in February, a few weeks before class registration opened. I had a
brief moment of panic.
Okay, maybe that’s
a little dramatic, but I knew I had to do something about my situation. With
only a couple general education requirements left, I still had at least 24
credit hours to fill during my sophomore year. The next time that reminder email came through, I was
sure to schedule an appointment with an adviser as soon as possible. Little did
I know scheduling the first appointment was the least of my worries.
The sun was
shining, it was spring break, and I was excited to get my life sorted out. Long
story short: I didn’t. That first meeting sucked. I walked into North
Foundation Hall with the idea that my interests magically changed and my
math/science skills improved. I just feel bad for the adviser that had to deal
with my indecisiveness.
“I was thinking
about going into the healthcare field, but I suck at science,” is something close
to what I told her and I probably said something similar in regards to math. At
that point, I was thinking more about pleasing my parents’ wishes rather than choosing
a path that aligned with my interests. In high school, I was set on going to
school for graphic design. After looking into the graphic design program at Oakland and
seeing how many studio art classes were required, I had flashbacks to all of
the still lifes I had to complete in my high school Drawing I & II classes.
I shuddered and moved on from that idea quickly. ...But I digress.
I left the Advising Center with a handful of pamphlets and made my way home to enjoy the rest of spring break.
Soon after I got an email about scheduling the second required meeting with the
First Year Advising Center. I researched my options for different programs and
major/minor combinations that would work best with my interests. The English
program kept drawing me back to their website for some reason. Harkening back to my high school interest in graphic design/promotions, I figured advertising would make for a good minor. I wrote those ideas
down at the top of my list and called the Advising Center to schedule the
second and (thankfully) last meeting.
Before I knew it,
it was time for round two. I confidently walked into North Foundation Hall and the
Advising Center with an actual sense of direction. I
met with a different adviser that day, and I’m glad I did. Our
conversation was honest and candid; I learned a little bit about his
background, education and how he made it work during and after the recession. He had a hard time, but his passion for his profession came through.
Toward the end of our meeting, he gave me some advice that changed my
“If you’re really passionate about something,
you’ll find a way to make it work.”
It was such simple
advice but it really stuck with me throughout the years. After hearing just a
handful of words, everything changed. I looked at school through a different
lens. It was a reassuring statement that made everything seem okay for the
moment. All of the stressing I’d done in the weeks before that second advising meeting
and conversations with my parents (and their concerned glances) disappeared from my memory. His advice led to the a-ha moment that, in a
way, changed my life.
That adviser ended up helping me more than I ever thought he would. He was a really nice guy, too, and I could tell he genuinely enjoyed helping students out. We actually ran into one another
a few weeks later when he was walking to South Foundation Hall to give a class a
presentation about the Advising Center. I told him I finally declared my major/minor and he happily wished me the best of luck with my future. I never saw him after that.
Ever since the meeting
with that adviser, I've found new meaning in my studies. I’ve strived for
success by working hard at the things I’m passionate about. So far it’s worked
very well in my favor. It’s always the people you’d least expect to get inspiration
from at times when you least expect it. I guess this is sort of my thank you letter to him. Now as a senior that’s quickly approaching
graduation, I have no regrets about choosing my field(s) of study. I think 2012 me would be proud of 2015 me. If I had a time machine, I'd let you know for sure.