I started my journey at UMD in the field of Biology. During my first semester, I was a little nervous about whether it was the right choice for me because the workload was very heavy and I was struggling with finding the studying methods that worked best for me. I then took the course Study Strategies. This class helps you gain the knowledge and the tools for you to be able to better prepare for tests, homework, and balancing college life. I found this class very beneficial. It taught me how to manage my time and not feel so overwhelmed. However, this still didn’t change the fact that I was worried about the path I had chosen.
When I got into my second semester, I realized that Biology was not what I wanted to do at all. My advisor was very busy and was very hard to meet with. I was feeling very overwhelmed and started talking to the counselors at Career & Internship Services. I had taken the Strong Interest Inventory at the beginning of first semester so this is the first place I looked for guidance. One of the categories that was the highest was teaching. I met with Ellen and we started talking about this further. I love working with kids and knew that teaching kids was something I would be interested in pursuing but I was very concerned that a regular classroom was not the right place for me to be. We then started discussing my options and looking into different majors that involved children, but were not in a classroom setting. We found the Outdoor Recreation Education major. I was very excited about this and excited to check further into it because this would give me the opportunity to work with kids, but in a different way. Ellen then helped me to figure out a schedule that would allow me to explore both Elementary Education and Outdoor Recreation Education in order to make sure that I was in the right field.
Since then, I still have not decided what I want to do for sure, but I am getting a much better idea of what I would like to do and where I would like to go with my major. If I could change anything in the process of making this decision, I would have met with a counselor sooner. I wish I had met with someone as soon as I started questioning my major. If I had come in sooner, I would have enjoyed my second semester here a lot more and I would have been able to get on track a little bit sooner with figuring out what I would like to do.
Some advice I would give other students is don’t try and struggle in a field you are not enjoying. If you don’t like it now, chances are you won’t like it later, either. Come in and meet with a counselor, they can help you find a field that you will enjoy. It is hard to figure all of it out on your own, so use your resources and get a push in the right direction.