Savannah Finver is a sophomore at St. Thomas Aquinas College, double majoring in Religious Studies and English. She is an avid reader and writer. She is interested in the impact of religion on American politics and social order. This piece was originally published in STAC’s student newspaper, Thoma, and when it came to our attention we thought it would make an ideal guest post on the REL blog.
When I first came to STAC, I declared a Childhood/Special Education major for two reasons. The first was that I could not see myself doing anything other than teaching; after all, my mother is a teacher, and I have spent my entire life around young kids. The second was that, knowing myself fairly well, I was certain that I could never, ever, ever work a desk job.
Now, here I am, in the middle of my sophomore year, having recently switched to a double major in English and Religious Studies.
Yeah, it’s a jump.
I have gotten every reaction imaginable, from “You can’t do that!” to “Why on Earth would you do that?” to “Are they trying to convert you?!”. I find myself constantly having to defend my decision, especially to the many nay-sayers who feel that a degree in the Humanities is, more or less, a one-way ticket for the express train to Unemployment.
So, naturally, almost immediately following my major-change, several people posed to me the following questions: “What do you want to do with those majors? I mean, English I kind of get, but Religious Studies? What do you do with a degree in Religious Studies?” I often struggle to answer these questions, but not because I do not know what I want. Ideally, I would pursue a doctorate degree in Religious Studies and eventually find a job as a professor. I would teach and write and conduct research projects, because those are my passions. Learning is my passion. And yet, for a plethora of reasons, that answer is never good enough.
So, expecting disdain and profuse words of discouragement, I often opt to answer, “I’m not entirely sure.” You can read into this answer one of two ways: (1) that I am a lost nineteen-year-old soul with no sense of direction, or (2) that there is such a wide array of job opportunities for people who major in the Humanities that I actually have hundreds of doors open to me, and I have yet to decide which one suits my fancy. Regardless, what most people tend to focus on is the fact that I have yet to make a choice. Because I don’t have a specific plan in place, I am doomed to failure.
Here is why most people are wrong:
The fact of the matter is that you can plan and plan and plan until you are blue in the face, but inevitably, life happens. It is unrealistic to expect that any eighteen- to twenty-one-year-old college student has life “all figured out.” Sure, we change our minds about our majors. Sometimes more than once. Let’s not even mention how many times we change our minds about our outfits or what to have for dinner or what to do on Friday night. The greatest part about the college experience is that we get to explore our options. That includes taking that class we never thought we would enjoy, or trying out that internship that is only vaguely related to what we think we want to do for a living, or even deciding to change tracks altogether. No matter how carefully we plan, there could always be someone or some class or something that comes along and leads us toward a new path.
Maybe I have stepped outside of the trail labeled “Comfort Zone.” Maybe I have wandered off toward the edge of the Fields of Uncertainty. But that is okay. With enough drive, enough passion, enough curiosity and creativity (and, of course, with the help of my mentors and friends), I will find my way. In the wise words of my current advisor, “Relax. You’re young. You have plenty of time.”