Rising seniors register for our fall 2017 courses next Monday and I’m kind of in a rut. Here’s an update on life.

I’m dropping public health. It’s been a long, back-and-forth process that required a lot of thinking and advice-seeking, but I finally made a decision, and I’m happy! I have my drop-a-major form ready to be handed in to the office of the registrar as soon as I finish writing this post. It’s a dinky little piece of paper (that doesn’t even require my advisor’s signature?) but it represents a huge decision I had to make.

Public health as a field is obviously incredibly important. Public health professionals are doing amazing work to improve the world around them, whether it’s through policy, research, medical practice, or anything in between. Before I got to college, I saw myself doing something along those lines. I didn’t know exactly what, but I thought yes, I want to work in healthcare.

(But I didn’t want to be a doctor. That was a fact.)

So I added public health as a second major pretty early on in my Hopkins career and thought that eventually, I would figure it out. I was in public health classes that were definitely interesting, but they didn’t completely “wow” me. Meanwhile, I was also taking other classes that I actually really enjoyed. I hated the disconnect. Why should I take classes that don’t particularly excite me just because I “have” to?

As I continued through my Hopkins career, my conscious decisions of what classes I did and didn’t like led to subconscious changes in my post-college plans. First, I wanted to be a biostatistician, then it was a data scientist in a healthcare setting, and then maybe just a data scientist.

I didn’t particularly want to work in healthcare anymore.

That pretty much solidified my decision for me. Even though I’m dropping the major, I won’t ever forget the countless lessons I’ve learned in my public health classes. I’ll take the knowledge and skills I’ve gained, and they’ll be applicable to almost anything. The thing that’s great about public health is the fact that it’s so interdisciplinary. That means that for anything I learned about public health, I learned about something else, too! Public health is related to the environment, to politics, to education, to economics. As someone who does want to work somewhere socially impactful, what I learned in my public health courses are invaluable. There just wasn’t really a point for me to be a public health major anymore. That’s ok.

I repeat, it’s ok to change your mind, and it’s ok to not like something anymore! It’s called growing.

Although I expect the process of dropping off this little piece of paper with the registrar to be undoubtedly anticlimactic, it represents me finally letting go! Hooray!

So here I am, “just” an applied math major. With no more required classes. And two more semesters at Hopkins. I want to fill the rest of my time in college with classes that I just really want to take. I don’t have that much time left, and there’s no point in sitting in a class where even a small part of me doesn’t want to be in it!

Because I’ve always been a double major, my course schedules have always been jam-packed with degree requirements and one or two electives per semester. Now, I can finally explore the amazing offerings across all Hopkins departments. Since I’ve had such great experiences in my past anthropology classes, I’m looking at more classes in their department. And then maybe I’ll take a cognitive science class (I don’t even really know what cognitive science is?) or an art class, or try out a class in the film & media studies department everyone raves about. I honestly have no plan, but I have freedom. And it feels amazing!