How on Earth does someone expect you to know exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life as an eighteen year old? Personally, I had no vision of what I wanted to do. In fact, I couldn’t find anything I was extremely interested in until the end of my sophomore year, and I didn’t even major in that. In this post, I’ll share my experiences with you starting from being a senior in high school to when I finally declared my major.
So far, I knew I wanted to help people. How was I going to help people? I had no idea, but I was also passionate about learning languages. At the time, I spoke two languages fluently, was almost proficient in a third language, and had basic knowledge of a fourth language.
“Okay,” I thought. Maybe I’ll go for something international. International relations? Possibly. International business? Now we’re onto something. At the very least, this was something that I could say during interviews when asked what I was interested in majoring in.
Fortunately, a lot of the schools on my list were liberal arts colleges, which meant that they typically have a lengthy list of requirements outside of one’s major. For example, you could major in biology but still have language, philosophy, and art requirements. People argue in favor of and against this, but in my case, it gave me more time to figure myself out. For example, I ended up attending Muhlenberg where you didn’t have to declare your major until the end of your sophomore year. Even then, you could still switch your major without much of an issue as long as you figured out your credits for graduation. If you find yourself stuck in the college wrestling recruiting process with no idea as to what you’d like to major in, liberal arts programs are a decent way to figure out what you want out of life.
Now that I had some idea of what I wanted to major in, I chose a wide variety of classes for my first two semesters at Muhlenberg. Eventually I found classes that I was interested in. With that, I was off to the races.
In the spring of freshman year, I asked one of my professors for career advice because I wanted to choose between international studies and accounting as suggested by a friend who had a job at a Big Four accounting firm. My professor gave me a very honest evaluation of the two choices and told me that graduating with a degree in accounting would guarantee a job for me right out of graduation, but he also warned me that it wasn’t for everyone. Still, he saw that I was indecisive.
“I’ll tell you what, Che. Try taking financial accounting next semester and reconsider your decision then. You still have time.”
Following his advice, I took the course and found that I did well enough and also enjoyed economics. Sometime during winter break of my sophomore year while training for the Wilkes Open, I called up a friend who was already in the working world. He seemed miles ahead of me in terms of knowledge in professional career. Always willing to talk, he gave me a phone call and went through the options based on Muhlenberg’s ABEF (Accounting, Business, Economics, and Finance) department. After he helped me plan out my schedule for the rest of my time at Muhlenberg, I realized that graduating with two majors wouldn’t be an issue. Because of this, I declared a double major in accounting and international studies.
It’s important to note that there was no way that my family could afford sending me to graduate school at the time. My brother was applying for medical school and would need financial support. The only way my family would make it work would be if I helped him pay his bills during medical school, so I decided that accounting would get the job done. It was also flexible enough so that I could change into other jobs that weren’t related to accounting after I graduated.
The rest is history. I graduated Cum Laude (with honors) from Muhlenberg with a job lined up at a Big Four accounting firm. One month before graduating, my brother sent me a Facebook message saying that he was accepted into one of the best medical schools in the United States. Everything finally fell into place. This put me in a great position to support my brother for medical school, and I was able to send parts of my paycheck to him every month (as you may find out later, graduate school scholarships are somewhat different).