You have finished your last year of high school and you’re excited to move on to the next stage of your life. Now, the only problem is; how are you supposed to know what you want to do with the rest of your life? I mean, you’re probably only 17, 18 or 19 and you’re expected to know what you are going to want to do when you’re 40, 50, 60 years old? What if you choose the wrong program of study and you end up wasting tons of money, time and energy for nothing? Lots of students feel this way when they are coming into university and they often carry this worry around with them which causes them fear and anxiety. I am here to help! I did choose the wrong course and ended up having to switch programs. What I have to share with you, however, is that switching programs does not need to be seen as failure. In fact, switching programs can be a great choice for your future!
When I was in grade 10 I decided on and was committed to the life of a designer. I had grand plans for my fabulous career and my custom home (that would, of course, be designed by myself). I dreamt of all the incredible places I would see and all the people I would inspire with my designs. When I got accepted to Ryerson’s School of Interior Design my dreams were all coming true… or so I thought.
My first year at RSID (Ryerson’s School of Interior Design) went by in a flash. At Orientation, I met three of the worlds most incredible women and the four of us became instant friends. This was good because we would need each other in the next few years.
Interior design in my first year was pretty much how I expected it to be. I loved the crafty design projects and dealt well with the pressure of a larger workload and tighter deadlines. Most of my days and nights were spent on the floor of my residence room putting together pieces of foam core or acrylic sheets and watching movies on a laptop with my friend Ria. Glue guns and exacto knives were scattered around the room ready for our use and the mini fridge was stocked with snacks for our overnight work-a-thons. Although this may seem stressful, I actually enjoyed it because I loved the work I was doing and the people who I was working with.
During my second year of interior design I found my life to be very different. Not only was I dealing with some fairly serious personal issues, school just seemed to change for me. The crafty projects I loved became more technical and our finished projects were critiqued more intensely. I found that I was doing less art and more math and science, which was not what I had expected. With all of this change in school and all of the stress of my personal life, I found myself feeling completely overwhelmed,
and sometimes it felt like I was going a little bit crazy.
It was hard for me to make the decision to leave interior design. It had been my dream to be a designer for years and my three best friends in the program were excelling in their work. However, I was realizing that my talents were not best suited for interior design. My learning style made it rather difficult for me to succeed with as much ease as they did and I didn’t love the work enough to put everything I had into it. There was nothing wrong with the program, but it was not the program for me.
The summer after second year was when everything turned around. My girlfriends and I took a trip to Trinidad together and this gave me a new perspective on life.
It was during this trip that I was able to reflect on my life and the decisions I was making. I came to understand that I needed to listen to my heart, which was telling me that something was wrong. I needed to make a choice that would allow me to use my talents and strengths and feel good about the work I was doing. I wanted to be as passionate about my work as my three girlfriends were about theirs. Trying to have the same passion as they had was not helping anyone. I had to realize that my heart was somewhere else.
In my third year I entered the Arts and Contemporary Studies program.
I made new friends while still maintaining my close relationship with the girls.
I excelled while doing a different kind of work.
I also developed my skills as a leader and became involved in multiple student groups and the work-study program, where I worked as a Student Life Assistant.
I graduated from the Arts and Contemporary Studies program in 2012 and proceeded on to a Masters program in the fall.
Although I did not become that famous designer that the 15-year-old version of myself had dreamed of, I did become something that I am proud of. It was hard to let go of that dream and venture into a new reality to find new goals and ambitions, however I feel as though I made the right decision by changing programs. I think that I grew a lot as a person when I was in Interior Design. I gained some incredible friends, made some great connections and learned a lot about myself. By leaving Interior Design and doing something that was more suited for me as an individual, I became a more vibrant person who has even bigger dreams than that 15-year-old girl from the past.
So, if you’re afraid that you might make the wrong choice, don’t worry. Remember that you need to make the right decisions for you and that even though your first choice might not be the right choice forever; it might be the best choice for you right now. Choose your program based on your goals and your passions and if you feel like you made the wrong choice a year or two down the road, remember that you have just grown into a new version of yourself. It is ok to change your mind. We all do it. Taking a risk and following your heart might lead you to a future that is even better than the one you had imagined for yourself in the past. Don’t let fear stop you from trying. If you fall, just get up and try again.