This past Tuesday, I had my last first day of school. I wrote that as a line in a column last year, but this time around I really mean it. Over winter break, I made sure that I put into play all of the steps that I would need to graduate on time. For some people that means studying ahead for classes, for others it means applying for graduation because they didn’t or couldn’t do that in the fall. For me, it meant changing my major.
I got to say, starting over is really hard to do.
During break, I changed my major from mathematics-statistics to communication. This wasn’t the first time I changed my major but it is the most radical one. When I came to UConn I was an actuarial science major. The middle of last year I changed to math-stats which meant just picking up a few courses. Switching to comm requires taking, like, six new courses. That, however, isn’t really the hardest part of the entire thing. Sure, I’m taking five courses in my final semester, but fifteen credits isn’t really that many. I’ve dealt with much worse.
The real challenge is not having a math course. This is my first time since probably middle school (maybe even elementary school if we’re being picky) that I haven’t been enrolled in some kind of math course. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve enjoyed math. For me, math is just puzzle solving, and, for a long time I’ve been enamored with solving those puzzles. There was something freeing about solving those problems. From now on, that’s all gone.
I’ve talked about this before, but I don’t plan on going into math. I want to do some kind of multimedia journalism or multimedia production in general. But even with that, math was like an odd safety net for me. On one hand, my attempt to try and push through when I was doing so badly was a horrible decision, but studying math was the only thing that I had ever done. It just made sense to keep doing it.
And now, that’s all gone. And this is really scary.
Whenever I think about doing something from “scratch,” I think about baking from scratch, like the very first step. Like when you have all the ingredients laid out in front of you and you know where you want to go, but you just don’t know how to get there. That’s how I feel right now. This comm degree is probably the best way to do what I want and I have a recipe to get there, but it now seems harder than it should.
This won’t be the last time I start from scratch. Life is full of ups and downs and a lot of failure. But failure also gives a chance for rebirth. It’s a pretty clichéd thought, but in most situations, we rise from the ashes stronger and better.
As bad as it that I’m starting a new major right before I graduate, college is probably the best place to make such a big change. College is a place where people can grow up, learn, fail and eventually stand back up. We go through so much change here. We come in as naïve 18-year-olds and, after four to five years, graduate basically ready to do what we are going to for the next 40-50 years of our life. It’s should be expected that we might change a little bit during that time.
So I guess the moral of this story is that starting from scratch isn’t the worst thing in the world. In most cases you’ll come out stronger than when you started.
Amar Batra is a senior staff photographer and weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets at @amar_batra19.