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Changing Majors

by John Salimbene
Credit to Hamza Butt (Flickr)

Photo courtesy of Hamza Butt via Flickr

If you are confused, terrified, and have no idea what you are doing in college, you are not alone. Like you, I’m terrified. I’m no longer confused, but I’m still terrified because that never goes away and you should get used to that if you have not already. However if you are reading this, I would like you to know that there is hope. If you are a freshman that has no idea about which direction to go, the good news is that you have time. That may sound cliché, but the truth is, I am now in my fourth year of college and just changed my major… for the third time. So trust me, you have time.

I’m currently switching my majors to the Bachelor of Arts in English to focus my education on writing and literature, because I wish to pursue an MFA in creative writing. However, I entered Montclair State in the fall of 2014 as a Television and Digital Media Major with a concentration in audio design. I met a lot of wonderful film people, many of whom have become some of my closest friends. I worked on a lot of their projects and wound up loving film so much, I switched to the BFA in Filmmaking in the fall of 2016. Underneath all the amazing experiences I was having alongside all of the equally amazing people within the program, I always had a very passionate love for writing.

It was always a semi-silent passion of mine. I had taken small newspaper internships and had a couple of my poems published by small literary magazines, but never felt like I could focus on it enough. The funny thing is that all my friends knew how much I loved writing and always questioned why I was even in the film program. If you ask any of them they would probably tell you that they predicted this before I did. At the time, being in the film program made sense, but what I want to shed light on, is the feeling you get when everything stops making sense.

A couple of weeks ago, I was supposed to make my junior film. Long before that, I had already decided that I wanted to go to graduate school for writing and thought my only option was to tough out the film major. A week before my film shoot, I had been talking to my mother about how stressed I was and how little I wanted to remain in the major and how much I wish I could have been an English major in the first place. Suddenly film stopped making sense, which was terrifying.

It is a debilitating feeling. I found myself completely defeated, and lost. It lasted days, but it needed to happen. The moment you realize what you want to do with your life is the moment in which everything around you stop making sense. You realize that you need to chase the one thing that helps you make sense of all the chaos.

It was not until my mother said, “Just switch your majors” that it clicked. That idea seemed crazy to me before that day because I had thought that I spent too much time on something that I did not want to spend all my time on. I tried to combat that idea at first, but I realized that I would rather take the extra year and get my degree happy, than sluggishly push through being miserable.

Readers, I hope you find that thing that brings sense to the nonsense, and brings light to the darkness, and gives you purpose. Whether you figure it out your freshman year or in your senior year, I hope you chase whatever it may be, because you would not be here if you were not here to find it in the first place.

-Published in The Montclarion on Oct. 12, 2017

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