I started attending Ohio University as a freshman in August of 2016. I went in to my undergraduate studies with the plan of majoring in psychology and one day working with clients to help them overcome their struggles with addiction, depression and anxiety.
From the moment I was accepted to the university, I began planning my future. I wanted to hold myself to a higher standard and push the limits of what I knew I was capable of. This mindset was challenged once I completed my first introduction to psychology course.
There was so much material to know and understand that it became slightly overwhelming as the semester dragged on. I ended the class with a B. I understand that a B is and was a fine grade, but back then I was so eager to push myself that I wouldn’t settle for anything less than the best.
I began questioning my passion for pursuing a degree in psychology and ultimately pushed myself away from what I thought was going to be my future. Looking back, I understand that maybe I did hold myself to too high of standards. As a first-generation college student, I placed an enormous amount of pressure on myself. In hindsight, I see that I was holding myself to unattainable standards, but I am grateful because it pushed me to consider other career options.
After exploring and reading about majors I settled on one that was going to be a stretch. Ohio University is well known for many of their programs, but one that outshines all others is the journalism department.
I never really understood what it meant to study journalism. I didn’t want to write for a newspaper, magazine, or report on air for a news channel. None of those aspects of journalism stood out to me as something I could have the confidence and interest in doing, but one thing I did know was that I loved to write and express myself and my opinions.
I noticed that there were two options for prospective journalism students. You have the option of choosing the news and information track or the strategic communication track. Strategic communication delves into the studies of advertising and public relations theory and applies those theories to the real-world of media. Whenever I thought of PR I pictured Samantha from Sex and the City. I remember thinking ‘I can do that!’ because to me, Samantha was someone who loved herself and wasn’t afraid to make herself big in a world where women make themselves so unnecessarily small.
I wanted to learn more. I became obsessed with the idea of being a publicist and living a glamorous life in a beautiful city just like Samantha.
To be considered for the journalism program I needed to fill out the standard application; provide a resume, writing samples, letters of recommendation, and a transcript; and had to meet the minimum grade point average.
At that point in my life, I had very little content that I could present to the admissions directors. I made it my goal to become more involved. I became more involved in class so that I could better develop my relationships with teachers. I took writing classes so that I could learn how to shape my writing and experiment with a variety of styles. I researched various ways to make yourself stand out in any application process.
After about a year of working on my application materials, I finally felt confident enough to submit my application.
Going into my junior year I was pressed for time to apply. I decided to apply for fall semester and risk it all. Sure, I didn’t feel completely confident in my portfolio compared to others with years of experience. I was, however, confident in my own work because I knew that it was the best I was able to present to the admissions board.
I sit writing this article now as an incoming senior with a declared major in journalism strategic communication and two minors in marketing and retail merchandising and fashion product development.
Since the time of my application and acceptance, I accepted a position as a digital marketing and public relations intern at a local firm that I absolutely adore, I have developed and published my own online portfolio, and learned the tools for researching and writing content inside and outside of my interests.
Although college is considered the best four years of one’s life because of the people you meet and the experiences you live through, I think it is also because you have time to become who you want to be. You can find the drive to make yourself better and ultimately discover your passions in life.
If it wasn’t for the B I received and the scrutiny I placed on myself, I would have never considered changing my plan that I had set for myself when I was 16 years old. Looking back, I’m happy I have and always will be someone that plans for my future.
College is the time to get to know yourself. Listen to your mind and your body for ultimate guidance throughout life and always be willing to adapt to change because you never know how it will affect you.