Two years ago, I decided to change the direction of my life—quite drastically. Upon arriving at college, I had declared my major in Exercise Physiology in hopes to go into physical therapy. For years, I had dreamt about making a difference in the lives of others by going into medicine. As more time went by, I found I was dissatisfied with the future I had envisioned for myself. I couldn’t find satisfaction in the goals I made for my life. I had come to a crossroads.

At this make-it-or-break-it point, I had to choose my major. This major had to allow me to:

1. make a living, and

2. make my life meaningful through helping society/people progress.

I looked into other careers and majors I thought would be interesting and where I felt I could make a difference. Psychology, International Studies, and English were among the areas of study I considered, but none of those felt like the right choice.

I remember quite clearly the day everything clicked. I was at home with my roommates, and we were all sitting in our living room, doing homework. In that small, poorly lit apartment, I felt like the heavens had opened.

My roommate was a Communications major at the time and had been talking about an assignment for a class for which she was a Teacher’s Assistant. I had observed what she had done to prepare and how she was changed because of that class. It truly was incredible to see, and I wanted to have the same experience badly. The depth of progression, writing, learning, and self-discovery I saw in that one glimpse made me crave that class and the whole major that came along with it.

Within three months of my “major crisis,” I officially changed my major to Communications with an emphasis on Public Relations. At that point, I thought I had figured it all out and everything was going to be smooth from there on. I was enormously wrong. Choosing my major was only a battle; the following two years would be the war.

In the quiet of the night, I had to be honest with myself because this new major would be a total change of terrain for a self-declared introvert. I wouldn’t be surrounded by like-minded introverts I was used to in Exercise Physiology. I was now surrounded by, what I consider to be, some of the loudest extroverts and opinionated people on campus. For the next three years, five days a week, I would be among peers who feed off public speaking, public forum, and high-paced competition to be the best. But surprisingly, in what is generally known as a department where extroverts thrive, I have been able to find a place among those that differ in abilities, personalities, and temperament.

This major has allowed me to be creative and to think for myself. I have been able to discover my strong skills as well as my areas of weakness, where I can improve.

Going through this journey is truly indescribable. I come prepared with my work, my ideas, and my paradigm. I collaborate one-on-one, where I am most comfortable, and my collaborators are able to feed off my creativity while I feed off theirs. Although I am still in the process of assimilating and becoming more comfortable in an extrovert-dominant major, it is wonderful to see that extroverts can learn from me and I from them.

I’ve also discovered that balance truly is the strategy for winning the battle and staying my own course. Balance in work. Balance in school. Balance in life.

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  • Ray Doraymefa

    Kayla, it’s refreshing to hear your story. Communications, and especially journalism if you go that route, desperately needs people who carefully observe and analyze and understand a subject, and then take the time to put things in perspective before communicating or reporting. It’s our communicators who must lead the fight against the post-truth, post-factual blight we’re experiencing. Your effect on the world may be less direct than with physiology, but it will almost certainly have a broader impact. Best wishes to you!

  • Good for you Kayla. Too often students stay with a major because they thought it to be what they wanted or often what others wanted for them. It takes such courage to go for your passion and be yourself within an organization that is very different but you are making an impact! GOOD JOB!