Asha Stewart (right) in a chemistry lab during her first semester
Growing up, I was always asked the same question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” After much thought, I made my big decision. I wanted to be a neuroscientist.
So, I took as many science classes as I could and did dual enrollment. I looked into everything I would have to do to reach my goal. I came to Sweet Briar bright-eyed and ready to do science stuff and be the nerdy college student I had always aspired to be.
Fast-forward a few months into the semester and I am miserable
. In those days, I could not wait to finish college and just get it over with so I could be a scientist. It was around this time that I remembered the days when I enjoyed school and even enjoyed the work that came with it. I had to remind myself that it is about the journey, not the destination. If I was so eager to finish my studies so that I could become a scientist but I did not even enjoy the science, what was the point?
That’s when I did something that terrified me to even remotely think about: I changed my major. I switched from biochemistry to psychology. Almost instantly, I could feel myself fully paying attention in class and enjoying it. I could not even fathom that, months later, I would find the description of the job of my dreams. With a few Google searches, I found the job title “art therapist” and knew this was what I was meant to do.
Asha in a pottery class in Fall 2018
Not only do I feel more confidence now, but even when having to do difficult work, I feel a sense of joy that I did not feel before. With all the echoes of adults telling me I could never find a job in the arts, I almost limited myself. Sometimes, you have to put that fear aside and do what you feel is best for you. In college, you are going to find parts of yourself you did not even know existed. There are going to be times when you have no idea what you are doing, and there are going to be times when you feel like the adultiest adult that ever adulted!
Either way, the biggest thing I learned is that it does not matter if you know exactly what you are going to do with your life. So much stress is placed upon college students to have a script of how their life is going to go. But, one thing I have to remind myself of daily is: I don’t know. I have no idea how my life is going to go. I have no idea what I am going to do when I graduate. I don’t even know what I am going to eat for breakfast the next day!
Life is unpredictable, but that is the beauty of it. If we knew exactly what was going to happen, so much of the magic would be lost. Two years ago, I had no idea how I was going to pay for college. Last year, I had no idea what I could study other than biochemistry. Last semester, I was not sure if I would be accepted to study abroad. (But I was, and I’m going to Paris in the fall!). Last week, I was not sure if I would be hired to be a camp counselor for the summer. (I was — I’ll be working at Georgia FFA-FCCLA Center.)
In a long-winded way, what I am trying to say is: You do not have to have life figured out. Sometimes you just need to make that major change.
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Asha Stewart ’21 is an admissions ambassador majoring in psychology with a minor in visual arts. She’s originally from Milford, Penn., but moved to Georgia a few years ago, where she learned about Sweet Briar. She loves to draw, sketch and paint and is interested in all forms of artistic expression.