By Tori Hasty |

I enrolled in college as a declared pre-med neuroscience major. My mother was really pushing me to become a doctor, and neuroscience seemed interesting enough. I spent an entire year trying to force myself to like classes I hated. I stayed up all night studying for tests that I knew wouldn’t pass. I’m a writer. I hate math and I suck at it. Science is cool, but I could never see myself doing anything with it.

When my parents called, I’d tell them how much fun I was having, when in reality I was so unhappy. I joined a few organizations to try to immerse myself in the field, but that didn’t help either.  When I joined the American Medical Student Association, I had to earn points by going to study groups, medical seminars, and mixers. I especially hated the mixers. It’s not that I disliked the people, I just realized that I didn’t fit into the “pre-med mold.” I wasn’t the type to stay up all night studying or the type that spent her childhood talking about wanting to save lives. I didn’t feel like I belonged.  

You can’t force passion. I couldn’t force myself to enjoy subjects I had no interest in. No matter how hard my parents tried to push me to stick with pre-med, I couldn’t. I decided to be honest with myself. I thought, “Yeah, it would be cool to be a psychiatrist, but am I really willing to put forth the effort and time to get there?” My answer was “no.” I wasn’t willing to stay up all night working to get better in subjects where I felt no connection.

I decided to officially change my major to public relations. I didn’t tell my parents, I just did it. Changing my major was one of the best decisions I made that summer, yet it definitely drove a wedge between my mother and me.

When she found out,  she was surprised and pretty angry. She did not support my decision. She didn’t think public relations was a field that would make me money. What she didn’t understand is that true success comes from ambition and passion. I was never in it for the money anyway.  

Academically, my sophomore year was instantly better than my freshmen year. I realized this was me. My new field of study helped bring out the best of my talents. I am so much happier. I actually enjoy going to class every day. I wanted to be able to share these new feelings with my mother, but I couldn’t. I thought that every time I brought up something related to my major, she would attack me. I never even tried, which was a mistake.

Maybe if I had exposed her to how much better I felt about school and my life, she would have been more supportive, but instead kept it from her.

I wanted her to understand that the best part about majoring in a field that I am passionate about is that my interests are aiding in my success. It is so refreshing when my personal life can be shared with my academic life, and all I wanted was for her to realize that.

I know this sounds cliche, but do what makes you happy. It is so much easier to live life when you are living it the way you want. It is even better when you can share it with those around you. I’m glad my mother finally knows. I wanted her to be able to share in this experience with me. Your parents are a huge part of college and I’ve learned it is always helpful to have them in your corner. Follow your passion path and walk it with those closest to you, especially your parents.

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful” – Albert Schweitzer