If I could give any new student advice, it would be to not be afraid to try new classes in college. I learned this the hard way. You never know what you’re good at until you try it yourself!
I went to a biology/research oriented high school. And after four years of being surrounded by life sciences, I felt like that was what I was good at and what I should continue studying in college. To be honest, I never really had a passion for biology. I liked it because I got good grades, but I wasn’t excited about it. When I first came to Rutgers and we had to choose the classes we would be taking, I wanted to jump right into classes for a biology major. I was afraid to try new classes, mostly because I am a person who likes familiarity. Classes like chemistry and biology were familiar and felt safe to me.
So for my first year of college, I persuaded myself that Cell Biology and Neuroscience was the major for me and the one I would be most successful with. But during my second semester, I realized that I wasn’t happy. I didn’t look forward to any of my classes, and I kept questioning why I chose to be a bio major. So I talked to my dean and I decided that the next semester (the first one of sophomore year), I would take a mix of classes and just try them out.
And by trying a mix of classes, I learned that psychology is where my passion lies.
One of the classes I took that semester was Cognition, and it is probably the best class I have ever taken at Rutgers. It was so interesting, and I was just so excited to go to every class. I attended the office hour discussions to learn more about the subject, and I even went to some of the events that were related to the class. I had never felt so excited about a class, and I honestly didn’t know it was possible to like a subject that much.
That’s when I realized that I would be a lot more successful (and happier) if I continued studied psychology. I do feel like my first year was a bit of a waste, and I wish that I was more open-minded and let myself try new classes during my first year of college. But it’s too late for those regrets. I am just thankful that I was able to find a subject that I really enjoy and look forward to learning.
Anyways, I feel like I am rambling a bit, but the point that I am trying to make is that it is good to try new things. You will never know what you are good at or what is calling out to you until you explore what Rutgers has to offer. I have heard countless times from deans and professors that most students change their majors at least once. And I totally understand why. College is so different from high school. Not only do you change, but your interests might too, and you will never be sure what you are passionate about until you try it yourself! So don’t be afraid to try new things!