It was 2011 and I was sitting in the UIC Pavilion with the entering class of 2015. I sat there talking to some new friends I had 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 Convocation day.
My first semester of freshman year was proving to be a time of growth and self-development. I was making new friends, learning the city, doing larger amount of work than compared to high school. But throughout the entire time I was learning something new about myself; I wasn’t in love with my major or my career path. So I decided to call home and ask family and friends about their love for their jobs. The phone calls I made were a tipping point for me — why? Well, it had to do with the fact that a lot of them didn’t love their job, but they worked the job they had for money and that’s it.
That’s when it hit me. Do I want a job I love or a job just for money? In this world I feel that there is too much emphasis on money and though it’s well and dandy, it doesn’t make you truly happy. At the time I wanted to be a pediatric neurologist and why would I want to hate my job and bring that kind of negativity to children? So I decided to not pursue medicine anymore.
This decision took me for a whirlwind where I question every aspect of myself. My entire life, literally since I was 6 years old, I had the goal of becoming a pediatric neurologist. I had attended a vocational school to get my CNA certificate, my medical assistant certification, I had 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 had a bit of a breakdown because I wasn’t sure how to tell my parents or anyone else. I had built an image back home that I was going to come back as a doctor; now I wasn’t. I started to think 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.”
Fast forward to the present and here I am a communication major 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 students but I’m happier. It wasn’t easy to build a new foundation of skills, connections, and reputation but it’s worth it.
At the end of it all, take away these two things. One, it’s okay to change your major and your career path. It’s your life and you have the right to do what brings you joy. And two, don’t ever doubt the words that are spoken at convocation.
Kris Fuentes Cortes is a senior in communication, a Boston native, an active student around campus, and a dreamer of working in the world of music. She wants to become a tour manager for a band and travel internationally while she’s still young. She’s the assistant marketing director for UIC Radio.