Uni Life

In defence of: changing your mind and changing who you are

Mans head in front of blackboard with many arrows

I was sixteen when I first submitted my application to study a dual degree in Law and Government & International Relations at Griffith University. Sixteen years old, trying to decide what fields of study to pursue for the next five years. Sixteen years old and with no idea as to what my career aspirations were, no idea of my own personal strengths and weaknesses, and I was making a life-altering decision. I have changed a lot since that moment.

Everything at the time seemed so clear cut in my mind; I was going to study law and politics, travel to Europe and get an excellent job. I would enjoy every moment of it and nothing would go haywire. I had my life planned out about seven years in advance and saw the world as black and white. If I achieved my goals, then my life would be perfect. In short, I left no room for personal growth or spontaneity. I left no room for failure, for admitting I was wrong or for changing my mind. It’s taken me two years since submitting my first application to study at university to understand that it is more than alright to change your mind about where you want your life to take you. Really, that it’s a part of being young. Ambitions change, you change as a person and that is okay.

I am no longer studying law – I dropped that half of my degree three weeks after commencing university when I realised it was not a path I wanted to go down. I transferred in to the single Government & International Relations degree the following semester. In the mid-semester break between last semester and this one, I put through an application to transfer in to a dual degree with International Business before cancelling it at the last moment. Again this semester, I am preparing to transfer to begin at the start of next year, in to the same dual degree I applied for last time around! I am very familiar with the doubt that plagues you and questions whether or not you are happy and pursuing the right degree, because if you had asked me two years ago whether I envisaged myself ever studying any form of business, I would have laughed at you and said “No, absolutely not. Never!”.

So what changed? My goals changed. My dreams changed. Who I wanted to become changed. I began to understand the world for what it actually was and how it actually operated, rather than seeing it through the normative eyes of a sixteen year old. Every time I have changed my mind about what degree I want to study I have encountered exasperation from my family members and friends who ask me why this time will be different, if I know I’m making the right decision this time. I have had numerous miniature breakdowns in which I question if I’m content with who I actually was, and how I lived my life. The truth is I can’t answer these questions, but I know that every time I have transferred it has being the right decision for me at that point in my life and development. Every time I questioned my personal core, it has allowed me to see the past, present and future with clearer vision and a better understanding of my strengths and limitations.

I am in no way the person I was last semester, the year before, or when I was submitting my initial application. I have grown and changed in ways I never could have conceived, and done things I never imagined myself doing – both in a positive and negative sense. I have experienced so much more than my sixteen year old self was possible of dreaming up. I have set myself academic goals and achieved them, in spite of a plethora of varying obstacles standing in my way. I have become a better person; an open-minded, infinitely more confident and significantly happier one. I have stopped trapping myself in boxes and limiting my capabilities and instead constantly strive to improve myself and everything around me.

Once I started reflecting on the path my life was taking, once I started saying yes to opportunities instead of playing it safe, my life became infinitely more rewarding and fulfilling. In short, I guess the point I am trying to make in this blog post is that it is not wise to equate change or changing your mind with failure. You are not letting anyone down, nor are you betraying yourself for taking this stance. It will always be okay to admit that something is not working for you – whether in your personal life or academically – because true strength lies in recognising that change is inevitable. Instead of running away from it, I encourage you all to begin (if you aren’t already) embracing change with both arms wide open as this active involvement is when life truly starts to get interesting!

Until next time,

– Belle

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