I’ve changed my mind countless times about countless things after coming to WashU.
Huh, I might go pre-med.
Hmm, I might major in English.
Well, I might minor in Music.
How about I eat Subway today?
But, most recently, it was “I’m going to study abroad.”
I made the decision to study abroad in the fall semester of my junior year (right — next semester!), but I effectively ended that decision several days ago.
It wasn’t because I didn’t want to, or because I got cold feet … but rather, it was a very calm, rational decision that I came to after contemplating my career path.
I spoke to multiple advisors about my intent to study abroad, and all were incredibly supportive. However, what I didn’t know at that time was that I would eventually consider becoming pre-law. With the LSAT coming up right after junior year coupled with my lack of knowledge on anything law school-related (yet), I decided that next year probably wouldn’t be the best time for me to study outside the country.
I expected quite a lot of hassle, actually. I already filled out a lot of things and sent in my confirmation. However, the study abroad advisor understood my position — no dispute, no inconvenienced irritation. It reminded me of when I first went in to apply for studying abroad; the deadline to do so was in a couple of months, and I’d only just decided I wanted to. But when I met with the advisor, she told me, “Oh, yeah, it’s totally doable. If you want to do it, you can do it.”
I’m not going to lie; I was really surprised by the support and positivity coming from my advisors whenever I told them I wanted to try something new. I remember my four-year-advisor’s excitement last semester at the random assortment of classes in my registration worksheet as he told me that it was great that I was still taking a variety of courses. I remember a career advisor optimistically showing me the best ways to apply for internships. I was used to being surrounded by adults and authorities who said, “No, don’t do that. That’s not a good idea,” or “Live life this way. You won’t be successful otherwise.” But WashU’s advisors have a completely different dynamic. If you want to, you can. And if you try, you will.
I’m grateful for this environment. I used to be afraid to take risks, to live a little spontaneously, because that was simply “not smart.” But here, you can make your own decisions. You can be a little daring, because someone will have your back.
Heck, you can change your mind.