As a planner, I understand how difficult it is when you start to feel your plan falling apart. When I entered freshman year as a Computer Science major, I was certain that this was what I wanted to do. I told everyone who would listen all about my big plans to forge a path for women in the tech industry and how I would make a name for myself in the fields of programming. My family was so proud that I had received a full scholarship to an out-of-state school to study an emerging field and I was so confident that I would burst through the stereotype of women in engineering.
When I pledged my sorority, I was the only Computer Science major out of 150 girls (yes, my pledge class was that big!) and everyone commented on “how smart I must be” to pursue the degree. I only used this as more motivation and I was determined. I had a plan that I shared with everyone and I wasn’t going to let anything stop me. But when Fall came around my freshman year and I didn’t understand any of the material, it was hard to adjust my expectations.
So far, I had breezed through high school AP courses and never really had to study. These intro courses to programming, however, left me high and dry on knowledge and it was like I was on a whole new planet. I spent hours and hours in the library researching and watching tutorial videos but nothing was registering. I barely scraped by in my programming classes and when final grades came around, I realized my plan was falling apart.
Midway through my second semester, I finally admitted to myself that I was not cut out for the field and, to be honest, I didn’t really enjoy it. Looking back I realized I picked Computer Science as a major not because I was genuinely interested in the field, but more so I could boast that I was studying a prestigious area of academia and it made me feel important and intelligent. I broke down mid semester and called my parents in the middle of the night and admitted that I had been struggling. I thought they would be mad and disappointed, but the only thing they were concerned with is what would make me happy. Looking back, the fears I had of disappointing my family were unfounded and silly. The next day I transferred out of the engineering school and declared a major in Human Development. I intend to go onto nursing school when I graduate this upcoming December and work in pediatric nursing once I graduate. My original plan is so far different from my plan now that I can’t even compare the two.
So, is your plan falling apart? Here are some tips to remember if you find your plan is not working out.
You’re going to figure it out. I know it doesn’t seem like it, but when one door closes, two more open (you just can’t see them yet). And trust me, it’s okay to not know what to do next.
Confide In Someone.
One of the worst feelings is your plan falling apart and having no one to talk to about it. Pick a close friend, your roommate, or even an online chat board. Talking about it to someone will help you gather your thoughts on how to proceed and may even spark some ideas on what to do next.
Tell Your Parents.
I know that you’re probably afraid of disappointing them but I promise they just want what’s best for you. Admit to any wrongdoings and be factual in your statements. If you’re honest with them they will be more open and understanding.
Allow Yourself Some Failures.
You’re setting yourself up to fail if you think you’re not going to have to readjust your plans. Give yourself some leeway and try to tell yourself that this is just a speed bump in the middle of a long road and everyone hits one from time to time.
Readjust Your Plans.
Don’t give up! Just because you didn’t get into grad school this time doesn’t mean you won’t get in next semester. Keep in mind your long-term goal and while you might have to take a roundabout path, you’ll figure out a way to get there eventually.
Maddison is a University of Alabama student from St. Louis, MO. Maddison loves all things macaroni and cheese, Grey's Anatomy, The Blacklist, napping, and sugar-free popsicles. You can follow her Instagram @maddisonnm where she mostly posts pictures of her Canadian cat and boyfriend or follow along on her new blog.