It’s been forever since I blogged! It didn’t feel like that long, but I guess working night shifts makes time fly by – or at least makes me lose track of time. I haven’t been doing anything besides working, really. I managed to hit up Stampede for an evening and on Monday I started my last summer class, but otherwise my summer is blurring into one gigantic night shift.
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Anyway. Today I want to talk about something that I never got told when I was just a wee gaffer, starting out in the unknown world of University. When I came to University, I was told that the average student switched majors at least twice. (I don’t know if this stat is accurate, but that’s what I was told.) But I told myself that those people were obviously fools. I mean, I knew what I wanted to do. I wouldn’t change majors and waste time and money. I had it all together.
This is pretty high and mighty coming from someone who had applied into Math and switched to Anthropology at the last minute. So I was an Anthropology major, pre-Ed. And I took my very first Anthro class on the first ever day of classes and I sat with a girl I barely recognized from high school and I excitedly opened my notebook to take notes and I could hardly wait to learn – and I hated it. I hated every second of Anthro. I scraped by, barely passing. I hardly went to class (don’t do this!) and when I did, I watched the clock.
But I was too stubborn to quit, so I took two more Anthro classes in the Spring. One I loved – Language, Culture and Communication, which I highly recommend – and the other I didn’t love as much. But I found what I did love – Sociology. I had the most incredible Soc prof and I aced the exams. I read the textbook voraciously, I couldn’t get enough. I couldn’t believe this was a discipline, a way to look at the world, and I was hooked. So I marched on down to Student Services and changed my major to Sociology.
But time went on, and I realized I also loved History. I loved History 1000 and I was fascinated by the sheer amount of History classes and things I could learn about! History of the Crusades, History of Homicide, Canada: War and Peace… I couldn’t pigeonhole myself into Sociology! There was so much to learn! I wanted to take every single fascinating class on the list! I pored through my calendar, circling classes I wanted desperately to take if they were offered during my time at the U. I had to change my major again. I couldn’t limit myself. So back to Student Services I went, and they suggested a General Major in the Social Sciences, which meant I picked three “streams” and took a required amount of classes from each. Perfect.
And then in Spring of my second year, I took a Women’s Studies class. Let me be very clear – I selected this class being positive that I would hate it, that the prof would be a man-hating crazy and that it would be rather miserable. But it fit easily into my schedule and I was convinced that it would be an easy A. The last thing I expected was that I had found my passion. Have you ever met someone who loves something so much that it shines through them? They light up when they talk about it, they can’t contain their fervour and excitement? That’s Women’s Studies. I walked in the first day, and the prof invited us to sit down as she explained what the course would be about. Man-hating, I thought. Women whining about nothing, I thought. But no. Women’s Studies is about looking at the structure of our world, both at home and in other places, and making sense of the way gender plays a role. Both genders. It incorporates Sociology, Anthropology, Psychology, Philosophy, History, Political Science and anything else you could dream of using. Gender has always existed, and therefore anything can be studied through a lens of gender.
I was in heaven. Now, the Faculty of Education does not recognize Women’s Studies as a valid major, so it’s only one of my streams. But I have a wealth of classes related to Women’s Studies. I volunteer at the Women’s Centre. I read feminist blogs and discussions as often as I can. And I know that I found what I love. I am passionate about Women’s and Gender Studies, to a point where the snide remarks and misogynistic comments I often encounter just bounce off me. I love my Faculty. I love the profs, I love how personal it is, I love when people tell me my major doesn’t matter or isn’t worth it. I love it. And that prof, from my intro? She has been a mentor to me, someone I can always stop in to see and someone who supports me in my journey to understand more and more about feminism or the lack thereof.
So that was a bit drawn out, but you’ll notice I changed majors three times, and would have changed yet again. I’m a total stereotype, but I’m elated that I found what I was looking for. Isn’t that what University is about? Yeah, and getting a job, you’re thinking. But it’s important to note that changing majors is okay and that, best of all, it doesn’t have to cost you time or money. There is so much room built into the programs for electives and for finding yourself that even though I waited until I was half done a four-year program, I could still easily get all my requirements in and not be forced to take extra classes.
Take classes you wouldn’t expect. Maybe you’ll hate them. We’ve all had classes we hated. But maybe, just maybe, you’ll find something you can’t stop learning about. Maybe you’ll form a personal connection with a prof. Maybe you’ll switch majors a dozen times. Maybe you knew all along that what you chose was right for you. But just know that there is no right way or wrong way to find what you’re supposed to be doing. And my five-year program turned into six years. And six years turned into (hopefully) two more years of Grad school. And if you had told me in grade 12 that this is what I’d be doing, this is what I’d be in love with doing, I would never have believed it.