All My Plans Fell Apart, and That’s a Good Thing

by Anna Malinovskaya - Posts (17). Posted Monday, June 11th, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Creative commons photo by Flickr user Chapendra

To plan or not to plan? (Creative commons photo by Flickr user Chapendra)

One thing I have learned over the past school year is the importance of being flexible. Before I even landed in the U.S., I knew what I would be majoring in, what classes exactly I would take each of my five semesters at Mount Holyoke, and what extra-curriculars I would pursue. However, now, one year later, I am moving in a totally different direction.

Before coming to Mount Holyoke, I thought I would major in international relations. I was very confident in my choice since that was what I had been dreaming about for the last few years.

When I actually took classes in the IR department though, I realized that this field is too broad and vague for my mind, which was asking for something more concrete, provable, and science-based. So I chose to major in economics with a minor in public policy.

But I didn’t realize that getting into a graduate program in economics is very much dependent upon my preparation in math. When my professors made me aware of this, I switched to a double major in economics and math. I am not only enjoying my classes but I also feel that I am moving in the right direction.

I was able to find the right path for myself only because I made an effort not to stick to the detailed plans I had made earlier, however tempting it was to do the opposite.

Creative Commons photo by Esther Dyson

I believe in strategic planning. It gives purpose to all the work I do, helps me feel that I’m in control of my life, and allows me to track progress toward my goals. So my long-term plans for the next five years become the foundation of my daily routine.  However, my Mount Holyoke experience proved that long-term planning can also be disorienting because the reality – the academic field, the labor market, and the underlying public opinion – is always changing.

We do not always have at our disposal all the information necessary to make well-informed career decisions. But even if we, college students, do have the information and understand the reality, we may still want to think twice before committing ourselves to a particular career, for our own motives and desires are changing as we explore new subjects and expand our interests in college.

So I have learned that while long-term planning gives me an advantage, it’s important to constantly challenge my plans and be open to new ideas that my growing knowledge and experience may bring into my life.

Comments are closed.

The Student Union is…

A place to hear stories about studying in the U.S. Our bloggers have come from all over the world to U.S. universities, and they'll be sharing their experiences, advice and more.

Learn more about this blog »

Share your own story!
Tell us about your experiences applying to the US, studying in America, or doing an exchange, and we may include it on the blog.


Glossary of Confusing Words

Find definitions of confusing words and terms about studying in the U.S. in our Glossary of Confusing Words.

All the words were submitted by YOU, so visit the glossary to see the words that have been defined already and to suggest your own.