On Finding Your Path
It's okay to switch your major, take the leap. Trust me.
A little known fact that most of my current friends and acquaintances don't know about me is that I used to be very serious about pursuing a career in Computer Science and Software Engineering.
Let's back up a little. It's a more openly known fact that I am almost done with my degree in Marketing and that I have a couple clear paths in which I'd like to take my career. There isn't one specific thing that I'm locked into, there are a few options I'm ready to explore, a couple very niche interests I'd love to pursue but wouldn't be heartbroken without.
Most people know me as a (professionally) social media-savvy person, someone who's done a lot of work and research branding, someone who's had her heart set on working in sports marketing if she can, honing her skills in to gain experience in very niche and industry-specific assets. I'm the girl you can talk sports to, the girl who can lend out jerseys, to ask for advice when you're placing sports bets. Most people don't know that there was a time where I wasn't all of that. Well, with the professional backing, anyway.
The thing is, I never thought I could take my passion for pushing what I love and turn it into something I could study, something I could get a degree for, something I could one day turn into a career.
Prior to The Jump, everyone and their mother was well aware of my severe tunnel vision, my determination to become a software engineer, to go into something lucrative and fill every stereotype out there. I won't go a lot into that, into the pressure I was under to keep with it, but the bottom line was that I went into college convincing myself that Computer Science (CS) was for me when it really, really wasn't.
There's a huge dissonance between promoting CS to young girls and the actual world of CS when they throw you in. Why are so many women leaking from the pipeline? The culture.
But, this is an entirely different topic that deserves its own post. For now, I want to focus on the part where I decided it wasn't for me. The part where I sought out a new home, a new path to define myself with. The part where I took a deep breath and dove into the deep unknown.
Well. Maybe not so unknown. I had one vague idea of what I wanted to do. You know that saying? Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life.
So with a grain of salt, I sat long and hard and thought about how I could make it work for me. And then I realized. All this time I had all the pent up passion, I had all this workable energy, and maybe, just maybe, I could make it work for me.
Here's the thing. Even if I had stayed in CS, I don't think I would be motivated to go the lengths that I've gone to develop myself professionally and within my industry. I don't think I would've been ready to put in the extra work, to start my own business, to take courses on the side without credit, just to expand my knowledge. I don't think I would've been as driven to seek out internships and to apply and apply and apply without losing hope. It's not because of the culture, although maybe it is in part some, it's also about what I really want in my heart, what really, truly drive me. And CS couldn't be fueled with what I have in my canisters.
Sometimes I think about what it would've been like if I had stayed with it. I wonder where I would be, if I would've pushed through and still made it. I was always good at math. I was good at the coursework. I was ahead whereas I'm a little behind now. It was good, great, on paper, why couldn't I just stay?
But. Would I be happy? Would I be as excited to begin my career as I am now? Would I have met the most important people in my life, would I have found home as I have now?
There isn't a way to know for sure, but I know that I wouldn't have what I have now, nor would I be who I am today, without the experiences and influences that have come with the taking a different path.
I wouldn't trade that.