It’s funny. I always thought I would graduate in four years, having brought in a lot of credit from high school. “I may even graduate early,” I once thought. It did not take me long to figure out that the path to graduation—and life in general—is not linear.
Before I knew I would be a fifth year
Sometimes I reminisce on the early days of my college career and the summer before. I close my eyes and I’m at my high school graduation party.
All my neighbors, family and friends of family are there. My dad has my videos playing on the TV. Videos I had made from the time I was 11 to about the time I started high school. I had uploaded all of them to YouTube at some point, but later deleted them in fear of my classmates making fun of me.
It’s weird how things change, as this is now my go-to fun fact for icebreakers. More specifically, I tell people about how I got my start in the moviemaking world—Club Penguin. Yes, I used to use screen-recording software to record my penguin, Miley0897 (I loved Hannah Montana.) Miley0897 would waddle around town while “singing” the lyrics of whatever song I chose. The speech bubble was where I’d type the lyrics.
As I got older and grew bored of Club Penguin, I started making real-life videos with my friends. Some were music videos where I lip-synced to my favorite songs. Others were short films of the thriller and horror genres, in which I would guilt my dad into putting on a scary mask. At my graduation party, one of my neighbors asked me, “So what are you going to study?” In which I replied, “digital film production.”
I was pretty certain back then that I wanted to work on a film set. I wanted to be a part of creating big Hollywood films. It sounded like a dream. After all, I loved creating and I loved movies and analyzing them. At the time, it was the only thing I could see myself doing, and I refused to begin college as an undeclared major for some irrational reason.
The first bump in the road
It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I started questioning if my major was right for me. Did I actually see myself working on films in the future? During the time I was having these doubts, I had already worked on two films at Missouri State University. I was a production assistant on one and a camera operator on another. Although the people I worked with were great and I learned a lot, something was off. I did not have that feeling of passion that I expected to. Being on set was exciting at times, but it just wasn’t something I could see myself doing long-term. This was a big red flag.
Thanks to an afternoon in Mudhouse during my junior year, I was able to address the problem. My best friend Mary Self happened to work in the Academic Advisement Center at the time, so she helped talk me through my options. I decided to change my major to public relations.
So why public relations? Well, I had never even heard of the major until I met my friend Megan Hein and discovered that PR was her major. She always seemed like she was doing the coolest things. For instance, she managed social media for Chartwells at MSU. Is that not amazing? After graduating in May, she now does marketing for Chartwells at the University of Arkansas. Basically, Megan is my role model and I want to do cool things like her. After talking to her about PR, I was hooked. Social media has always been a big part of my life, so figuring out that I could potentially do it as a career was the final push.
Trusting my gut, that very next day I walked into University Hall and changed my major. It felt weird to change the only path I ever knew, but it was time.
From uncertainty to security
When I first changed my major, I was still worried if it was the right fit. I am currently on my second internship since being a part of my new program and I have this overwhelming, incredible feeling that I am in the right place. It is something I have never felt before. Although it took me two and a half years to figure it out and it will take an additional semester of college, I reached a milestone by feeling secure in my decision.
Like most college students, I still don’t know exactly what my future holds—besides being a super senior for one semester—but I am certain that being a social media intern for marketing and communications at Missouri State will bring me one step closer. Also, my principles of public relations course with Jerri Lynn Kyle will help me by delving deep into the world of PR. It is only the sixth week of class and I have already discovered that there are unlimited careers in the field. The best part is the field just continues to grow. I am so excited.
Every experience and connection at this university has led me to where I am now, and I cannot wait to show everyone how amazing Missouri State is through Instagram!