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  • Marissa Burr

Change is Good. Scary, but Good

By Marissa Burr

What happens when you’ve had a plan for over a decade about what you want to do with your life, and then suddenly — one day in the late winter — you realize that this plan you’ve had may not be the right path for you?

Well, almost 10 months after this realization, your life may look a lot like mine.

When I entered Canisius College as a freshman in the fall of 2020, I was registered as a childhood education major with a concentration in social justice, in pursuit of a certification to teach from birth to sixth grade in both general and special education spheres. Can’t forget that sociology minor, either. After a year of classes along that path and the addition of a children, family and community studies minor, I was still set on becoming a kindergarten teacher, something I had wanted to be since I was in elementary school.

Add on a year off for personal leave and a life-changing revelation, and now I’m declared as a creative writing major with a minor in music. Needless to say, I went a little off the path I had paved for myself over the past few years.

I’d done internships and observations in classrooms and had spent every hour of free time working with kids. My entire high school career, people had told me I was made to be a kindergarten teacher — that it was my destiny.

So… why the change?

Honestly, I don’t have a definitive answer as to why, but one day I found myself dreading spending another day studying to be a teacher. Of course I still love kids, and I really enjoyed the courses I’d taken: that wasn’t the issue. I guess all of the sudden I just wasn’t passionate about it anymore.

I was only a sophomore academically, so it was easy enough to switch majors. The choice of what to do next wasn’t difficult either. Only one thing made sense — writing. The only thing I’d wanted to do longer than being a teacher was to become an author. Children’s stories, young adult fiction, inspirational books… in my mind, they’ll all be written some day.

Music was a bigger surprise to my inner circle. Sure, I loved music, and if I was around, everyone knew that I’d have my Spotify playlist running. I’ve sung in choirs and ensembles, and I've played instruments in a few, as well. But the end decision of pursuing a music minor was because of my significant other. He’s a music education major at Buffalo State and already has a degree in music from SUNY Fredonia. I wanted to be able to relate to his studies at college, as well as his post-baccalaureate career. Canisius College had cut the music major, but after a few emails back and forth with the head of department, I was all set for the minor.

My creative writing professors and advisors were just as helpful. They welcomed me with open arms into the program and have really ensured that I’m handling the transition well this semester. We’re a few weeks into the semester, and, even though the workload has picked up, I’m still loving my courses, and I know that this is the path I was truly meant to take.

My advice to any student considering switching majors? Do your research, ask for help and if you like what you find, definitely go for it. It’s a scary shift, but you may find yourself (like I have) feeling more at home in your own life.

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