I remember how things were in my first year. It was a fresh new step in life with lots of opportunities and even more questions. One of the biggest questions I had was a sentiment that many students also share when they first step onto those concrete steps that will become so familiar in the years to come, which was whether the path I was on was the correct path for me. That is a tough question to answer, and I doubt there is a definitive way of answering it, but I can certainly give you my perspective, built on my four years at this school.
My final year of high school had me do a 180 with my plans. Originally, I was going down the road of the sciences, but as the Christmas break of Grade 12 drew near, I began to realize I wasn’t really happy with what I was doing. I was focusing too much on the courses that I felt were necessary and not on what I felt happy doing. I looked into more programs with the help of my advisor, and we found a faculty that encompassed everything I enjoyed doing—Communication. Everything after that felt like a blur, and as soon as I knew it, I was a Communication student at SFU.
With a particular interest in media studies, I didn't expect the introductory classes to be so broad. I felt that the clarity I expected to find in university just wasn’t there. Factors outside of class that caused my life to ramp up also made me feel disconnected from my studies, and I found that university wasn’t really “clicking” for me the way I imagined. This carried onto my second year where the same problems persisted, and my motivation was slowly waning. Suddenly, everything changed with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I was given a lot more time to think about my career ahead of me. I made a promise to myself to put as much effort into my classes as possible to see whether my doubts were about the subject or due to outside factors.
As time went on, the courses I had previous problems with proved themselves to be important foundational courses for later. I was able to link concepts jumping from course to course, painting a fleshed-out picture of what Communication truly was, instead of what I perceived to be a series of disconnected courses. Slowly, my interest in my degree began to pick back up, along with my grades, and as I progressed further, I saw that there were options to specialize in areas that I wanted to and that I never would have considered before. I began to talk to Communication advisors and weigh in their opinion as well so that I could get an expanded perspective on which courses I can take to explore my interests while finishing up my degree.
When it came time to have some classes in person at the start of the 2021 Fall term, I was very happy and confident with where I was in my studies and my degree. All of the smaller pieces from the early general classes were fitting together, and in retrospect, I now see that I had to get through the tough parts to be presented with so many opportunities.
All this to say, I believe my real passion for Communication came after my second year when I was finally able to understand what was being taught in my introductory classes and began to take more specialized courses that tied into what I originally wanted to study. For anyone else in this same position, don’t be discouraged if you still don’t feel like you’re in the right place after your first, second, or third year; it takes time for all of it to fall into place. If you put in the work to make your dreams come true, maybe you’ll also see that passion is learned over time.