Making A Major Decision

When I was six years old, I wanted to be a cashier.

Waiting on line at the supermarket was like a symphony to my childish ears. The beep after every scan, the push of every button, the jingling of coins when the register abruptly opened….when it closed. Scanning milk and cereal seemed like the thing to do.

But when I was seven my life was pulling me toward a different direction. This time, I wanted to be a babysitter. When I was eight, I wanted to be a fashion designer. When I was nine, I wanted to be an artist. And at some point in between, I wanted to be Selena. I still want to be Selena, but that’s another story.

As a child my mind was constantly changing. I was easily distracted and my distractions became my passion but only for small periods of times. When I tried to be an artist, I realized that all I was really good at was drawing stick figures and all of the designs in “Pamela’s Fashion Designs,” my sketch book, were too squared to fit a human body.

When I got to high school, things started to get serious. I couldn’t be a mind-changing crazy all of my life. I was going to be an adult at some point and the sound of jingling coins would only mean that I was broke.

During my junior year of high school, I decided I wanted to write for my high school newspaper. The next day, I signed up for the class and within a few months I decided I wanted to be a journalist. And so I went on and applied to college, declared a journalism major my first year at SUNY New Paltz – and dropped it on Monday, Nov. 29.

Although I had five courses left to complete the journalism major, I didn’t want to spend another class going over which months are abbreviated according to AP style. Luckily, last year I declared sociology major with a concentration in human services. Even though I dropped journalism, the major my heart had practically declared my junior year of high school, I was surprisingly OK.

Coming to this final decision was a struggle. Journalism had been my boo for such a long time. There was a point where I loved it all so much but it just got complicated. I realized that I loved something else a lot more.

One of the main reasons I decided to drop journalism was because I questioned my commitment to objectivity. While taking Media Ethics, a course the Journalism department offers, I realized that all of my struggles with the major manifests from my desire to take an active role in my community rather than a passive one. As much as I love to write and report on those creating change in our community, I am not so sure I can continue doing that the rest of my life without wanting to join them.

Through human services, I’ve learned that by working with people directly, having face-to face conversations and offering my help, I can influence some kind of change. I’ve always known that I wanted to be a contributor to positive change and for a long time I tried to convince myself that journalism will help me do that, but it can’t – at least not to my satisfaction.

When I grow up I want to be… I’m still not really sure. I can’t give a title but fortunately, if things don’t work out, I can always revisit my childhood dreams. Maybe in ten years, I’ll be ringing you up at your local grocery store…except, I really hope not.