Things Change: Seniors with college majors they never expected

Everyone has been asked the same question during their childhood: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Some have known their profession since they were in elementary school. But others seem to bounce all around the career map throughout their years in school. When you are always growing and changing, sticking with one career path may be very difficult. 

“On my preschool diploma it says, ‘I want to be a rock star when I grow up,’ but that obviously isn’t gonna happen anymore,“ said senior Abby Muller, who is attending University of Arizona in the fall.

Zahraa Patel

What you want to be when you grow up during the earlier years of your life seem to be based on your favorite things or interests. But as you grow, your perspective of your interests change and many people end up pursuing something they weren’t expecting.

“I used to hate math, I hated it so much,” Muller recounts. “Math always used to make me cry.”

But when Muller was exposed to more complex classes in high school, she started to really find a passion in the subject.

“I feel like it’s one of those subjects where it totally depends on the teacher,” Muller said. “Then this year, I got a really good teacher and I started to really like it and go in for help. I don’t mind doing it and I genuinely enjoy it now. It’s just kind of funny because I used to hate it. If I didn’t get moved up to accelerated in seventh grade, I would have never been in AP Calc, which means that I wouldn’t have chosen math.”

“[My parents and I] were just talking about what I was good at and I’ve always had good grades in math. It always made sense to me. So I [said] ‘Okay, I’ll go with that.’”

A casual conversation with a co-worker led Muller to research the only school she would end up applying to, the University of Arizona. Muller is studying mathematics and her goal is to become a math teacher.

Many students experience the back and forth between career decisions, especially from sophomore to senior year. 

“A while ago I went from musical theater to wanting to be a nurse to wanting to go and study psychology and criminal justice,” said Reeve Lounsbury. “I kind of went through a hard time and I [said] ‘theater is not bringing me joy anymore,’ not in the way it used to at least. All of COVID I didn’t know what I wanted.”

Lounsbury is committed to University of New Hampshire as a psychology major and plans to study criminology and justice studies.

Zahraa Patel

Our experiences in high school are crucial to deciding our major and future, as they expose us to many different classes that maybe we have never encountered before. 

 “I’m in anatomy this year,” said Lounsbury. “Anatomy is so cool to me because it ties into psychology, sociology and of course anatomy itself. It all combines, it just fits all together perfectly in my mind.”

Senior Callie Leighton also credits her experience at LHS to her decision involving her major. During her childhood, Leighton thought that she was going to be a biomedical engineer.

“I wanted to make prosthetics. I wanted to give people the opportunity to have full mobility or be able to see again, or even hear again,” Leighton described.

But during her junior year her plans shifted.

“I was dead set on being an accountant and going to UT Austin, but I didn’t even end up applying there.”

“I was taking accounting [first semester of my senior year]. And that’s when I realized I was just not an accounting person,” Leighton explained. “It didn’t work out very well for me so I had the chance to transfer to AP psychology. And I love it. I’ve always been somebody who’s interested in learning about mental health and why people operate the way we do.”

Leighton chose psychology as her major, an outcome she never saw coming until she was exposed to the class at LHS. Leighton will be attending DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana next school year.

Zahraa Patel

Even though high school lets you choose your passions and some of your classes, it can’t give you all of the life experience that some may want. It may seem like it all happened too fast and you didn’t have all the time that you wanted or even needed to explore what interests you

“Choosing a major at 18 sets up your life and I don’t know how you’re supposed to have your life together at 18,” Muller explained.

Fortunately, the faculty and staff at LHS are incredibly helpful and an important asset to students finding their passions. Seniors couldn’t do it without them. 

“Teachers in the classes at LHS really pushed me to expand on my interests,” Leighton said when asked what helped her decide her major.

Lounsbury has a simple philosophy for juniors and underclassmen at LHS: “try everything.” This recommendation is for any students who may not know where to start searching for life after LHS, and will alleviate “a lot of stress trying to figure all that out.”

“Of course you can’t try everything, literally,” Lounsbury remarked. “But if you don’t know what you want to do there’s tons of resources on YouTube of people [saying] ‘how to figure out your major.’ Or even just looking at a list of majors picking the top 10 that sound the most interesting to you, and then doing actual research into them.”

Muller suggests that, “It’s always good to try young because you don’t realize how much good grades will do for you when you’re a freshman. You’ll realize it matters later. And it might be too late to catch up on it.”

A common theme among the graduates of this year is destiny. We will never really know when everything will fall into place, until one life experience changes it all. Despite the struggles, these students have finally found what they are excited to study at their future colleges.