Or… how many majors can one person go through before one sticks? Due to the large amount of time covered, you get 2 parts. The first part is from Fall 03 to Spring 07.
The school year is now in full swing and there are 2 kids of my friends that are starting their freshman year of college. Also, it’s weird that the college kids I know are because I’m friends with their parents, but that is a post for another day.
I cycled through about 7 or 8 different majors before I landed on one that stuck. In case you’re trying to do the math, it took me about 9 years of schooling off and on to get my undergraduate.
As I went through high school, my favorite subjects were Math, Physics, and Chemistry. My extracurricular activities were writing in my journal, theatre, and band. So, I had a few options. In high school, I was really gung ho about Chemistry. I loved Stoichiometry and Calculus.
Yep, I was (am?) a huge nerd.
I figured that the best way for me to help the world would be to go into the pharmaceutical industry and major in Chemical Engineering. I fleshed out and instilled this belief through multiple college and scholarship essays.
I really wanted to go to the Illinois Institute of Technology for college, but due to cost concerns, ended up going to the South Dakota School of Mines.
Fall 2003 – Freshman year, first semester – Chemical Engineering
Classes – Chemistry 1, English 1, Intro to Engineering, Band, and Psyc 101
Chemistry 1 was way harder than I expected. I got a B which was disappointing, and the class made me despise Chemistry. A theme in my life is perfectionism, so a B was unacceptable if it was a major I wanted to pursue. Fortunately, my Intro to Engineering class introduced me to Metallurgical Engineering! This is similar to Chemical Engineering, but with metals! And it didn’t contain the evil Chemistry teacher that failed half of his class every semester. Win, win!
Spring 2004 – Freshman year, second semester – Metallurgical Engineering
Classes – Chem 2, Computer Science, Calc 2, Physics 1, American Lit
This semester went really well. I loved Computer Science. The logic went easily for me. Again, I got a B in Chemistry with the same professor. This solidified my decision to get out of Chemical Engineering. Looking back on this 10+ years later, I think I was a bit ridiculous for wanting to change majors over a B. But, it got me to where I am now, so I can’t complain too much!
Summer 2004 – I moved home, took Calc 3, and worked at a crappy temp job scanning documents for Wells Fargo. I established that I definitely wanted to graduate from college.
Fall 2004 – Sophomore year, first semester – Metallurgical Engineering
Classes – Properties of Materials, Statics, Technical Communications, Differential Equations
I really liked all of my classes this semester. However, Properties of Materials was easy, but not engaging for me. As a result, I didn’t think that was what I wanted to do. I kicked ass at Statics. To the point where everyone hated me because I got 100% on 3 out of 5 tests.
I was floundering at this point to figure out a major. So, remembering back to how much I liked Comp Sci and how much I enjoyed Diff Eq, I decided to switch majors to Comp Sci/Math Degree.
Spring 2005 – Sophomore year, second semester – Computer Science/Math
Classes – Physics 2, Linear Algebra, Finite Structures, Com Sci 2, Modern Art
I really liked this semester for the first month. Then my brain was like, “Hey, remember how you get sad and cry a lot every once and awhile? I think it would be fun to do that for 3 weeks straight!” This was the first time my depression went from a minor annoyance to a REALLY BIG FUCKING DEAL. I called my parents, terrified about the fact I hadn’t done much besides sleep about 16 hours a day and eat once a day. They drove out to see me, dragged me to see the school therapist, took me to the doctor, and made sure I talked to all of my teachers to get back on track.
When they left, they thought everything was good, but it wasn’t. In addition to the depression, I got the added joy of anxiety about attending class! I thought everyone was judging me (they probably weren’t), and I was struggling to catch up (which really hurt that perfectionist part of me). I ended up still being depressed, just not as much, and the anxiety caused me to Withdraw from all of my classes.
Summer 2005 – I stayed in my college town. I took Golf. It was great.
Fall 2005 – This is the point I stopped identifying as a class (Math… I don’t remember why I dropped Comp Sci. Probably because I wanted another woman in my class instead of just me.)
Classes – Partial Differential Equations, Advanced Calc, Numerical Analysis, Microeconomics
I started this semester out with a suicide attempt, and never really got back into things. I withdrew from everything.
Spring 2006 – My college politely asked me to take a semester off. I did. I was going to transfer to South Dakota State and major in Horticulture. I had this neat idea that I would have a small farm and raise sheep and flowers. It would be a retreat where people could come, care for the sheep, shear them, dye the wool with flowers, and spin their own yarn. At this point, knitting was the only thing I could do without harshly judging myself.
I did transfer to SDSU. The biggest culture shock was women. It was 50% women/50% men on campus as opposed to like 15/85.
Fall 2006 – Civil Engineering (Remember how I said I kicked ass at Statics?)
Classes – Dynamics, Comp 2, French 1, Drafting, Speech
This semester went kind of okay. My depression was still around, but I passed the easy classes (French, Speech), and dropped out of the ones I couldn’t keep up with due to time or other stupid depression shit. Also, I decided that Civil Engineering sucked, but I think that had more to do with the teachers I ended up with than the actual subject material.
Spring 2007 – Math Education
Classes – Foundations of American Education, Human Relations, French 2, Matrix Algebra, Geometry for Teachers
This semester went well for the most part. I ended up withdrawing from Geometry, and got mostly B’s. I started taking Effexor around this time, which was terrible. I have what’s called “Atypical Depression” which basically means I don’t have insomnia, but hypersomnia. For a while, I was sleeping about 16 hours a day and had to decide between going to class and doing my homework because I couldn’t stay awake for both. I also spent Spring Break observing a math teacher, and started doubting my decision to major in Education.