Changing paths

Kris Fuentes Cortez

“It’s OK to change your major and career path,” says Kris Fuentes Cortes, a senior in communication who changed her major from medicine.

I remember sitting in the UIC Pavilion in 2011 with the entering class of 2015. I sat there talking to some new friends I made while listening to our student speaker. He spoke about his time at UIC and how it was a bit of a rollercoaster because he had changed his major so much. I remember telling my new friend, “Yeah, he might change his major, but I came here to be a doctor, and that’s what I’ll be.”

I still laugh when I remember that day.

My first semester of freshman year was a time of growth and self-development. I learned that I wasn’t in love with my major or career path. So I decided to call home and ask family and friends about their love for their jobs. A lot of them didn’t love their job, and they worked just for money.

That’s when it hit me. Do I want a job I love or just for money? There is too much emphasis on money and it doesn’t make you truly happy.

I wanted to be a pediatric neurologist. Why would I want to hate my job and bring that kind of negativity to children? So I decided to not pursue medicine. Since I was 6 years old, I had the goal of becoming a pediatric neurologist. I had attended a vocational school to get my certified nursing assistant license and medical assistant certification, and I volunteered in countless hospitals in Massachusetts. I had done research in medicine and worked in many hospitals and care centers, only to change my career.

I wasn’t sure how to tell my parents or anyone else. I started to think about what made me happy, so I grabbed my iPod and began to listen to music to calm me down. I started to daydream of different professions and when I woke up from a long nap I was staring at my pile of CDs, press passes and posters of my favorite bands. That was it – music was the one thing that consistently brought me joy. I started my research on different professions and found tour manager.

Now I’m a senior in communication with a minor in managerial skills, with the hopes of becoming a tour manager. It’s a far jump from my last major and being a pre-med student but I’m happier. It wasn’t easy to build a new foundation of skills, connections and reputation but it’s worth it.

It’s OK to change your major and career path. It’s your life and you should do what brings you joy.

And don’t ever doubt the words that are spoken at Convocation.

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Campus, Students