November 25, 2019

“If you do what you loveyou‘ll never work a day in your life.” I’d heard this quote a million times but never felt like applied to me. I lived with the fear that I wasn’t on the path to doing what I loved.

I would hear other students talk about projects and assignments that they enjoyed doing. One of my friends was excited about her patients in the nursing program, and my other friend couldn’t stop talking about biology. But all my assignments exhausted and frustrated me.

When I first came to Cedarville University as a transfer sophomore, I decided to study psychology. I had studied creative writing at my previous school, but Cedarville didn’t have a creative writing major. In my search for another major option, I decided I wanted to help people, so psychology was the route for me. But after a mental breakdown (or five) as I struggled to read all the textbooks and understand all the different parts of psychology, I realized that this wasn’t the thing that I loved.

I enjoy reading and writing, so I thought that maybe the way that I could help people was through teaching. As a kid, I often played the teacher role when playing with my cousins, so I thought I’d be a teacher when I grew up. I jumped right into the English education major. It took me a semester to remember that I hate speaking in front of people. Education was not the thing that I loved.

I dropped the teaching part and became an English major. I still loved reading and writing, and I wanted to be an editor and a writer, so I figured English was the major for me. I was wrong. In the English major, we read a lot of different texts and then wrote papers analyzing those texts. It was like science but with books. I hated that process, but I didn’t think I had any other options.

Then I discovered the Editing and Publishing minor, which described exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to work in book publishing as an editor. It had taken me only three majors to come to this conclusion.

Just a few weeks into my new minor, I learned about the Professional Writing and Information Design major (PWID) from the students in my minor class – Introduction to Professional Writing. I didn’t know what everyone’s major was at the beginning of the class, so when I discovered that they were all PWID, I was surprised: I didn’t know that existed. My first thought was that they were just a bunch of technical writers, which sounded boring. But as the class continued, I realized it’s much more than that. The work is creative, the professors are encouraging, and I wanted in.

At this point, I didn’t think I could change my major again. I felt like I’d changed it way too many times, told people way too many different career ideas, and as a college junior, I was running out of time. I didn’t want to have to explain to people that I was changing my major again.

I continued to struggle through my English papers while I thrived in my one PWID class. But the more time I spent with the PWID people, the more I realized that they were my people. I loved my English major pals, but I didn’t relate to them the way I related to my PWID major pals.

One day I was sitting at lunch thinking about how much I loved my PWID class and how much I dreaded my English classes. In a moment of spontaneity, I hopped onto Cedarville’s site and submitted a major change request. As soon as I pushed that button, I felt peace.

That feeling of peace only continued as I registered for my first bunch of PWID classes and then spent an entire semester taking only PWID classes. At last I finally felt joy when doing an assignment. I would start a project and look up two hours later and feel like no time had passed at all. I found myself telling everyone who would listen about the projects I was doing in my classes.

After many mental breakdowns, four major changes, and a lot of creative projects that I’m proud of, I’m happy to say that in three weeks I will graduate and find a job where I can do what I love and never have to work a day in my life. All because of PWID.

About the author

Haili VanDerEems

Haili is a winter 2019 graduate.

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