PDP: Academic Plan

Section: Embracing Intellectual Growth, the Academic and Creative Life of the University

I barely know what I’m going to be having for dinner tonight, let alone what I am going to be doing 4 years from now. So, making an academic plan was bound to be terrifying.

In high school, most of our classes are either predetermined or do not really count for anything. Coming into college, I (selfishly) though this would kind of be the same thing. Take some cool classes here and there, and eventually everything would magically fall into place and “Poof!” here’s my degree! I could not have been more wrong.

Before I went and met with the all-knowing Ken on October 2nd at 2 in his office, I had to set up my academic plan. It was pretty fun (and by fun I also mean slightly terrifying), using all of these sticky notes to plan out the degree that could lead me to my future career. By the time I was done (about 2 hours later), I was super excited. If my planning was correct (and I was pretty confident that it was), I would be able to graduate in four years with a major in both Biochemistry and Neuroscience, AND have a minor in Leadership. I looked down at my masterpiece and was excited to show it to Ken. I figured the meeting would be short; I had a great majority of it done, I just needed a few holes covered here and there. It was going to be great…academic-plan Ken with my PDP!

Within five minutes of my meeting, boy did I find out I was wrong. About everything. We quickly realized that I had forgotten to add in a few key classes from each of the two majors, and that my minor (which I couldn’t drop, thanks to LAS) messed up literally everything. Sticky notes began flying around, going on and off of my academic plan; we added a class here, took one off there. It was stressful and chaotic, and I started to worry if I could even graduate with one major in four years. I knew from the beginning that I did not want to go more than four years, as that is what my scholarship covers. I am not sure how I would be able to finance another year. Sure, I plan on going to school past my undergrad, but that will be financed by the US Navy. After college, I want to join the Navy to become either a Nurse or a PA (I still haven’t decided, but they luckily both need similar undergraduate majors). After talking with Ken, I was even more flustered then I was before I went it. 

After talking with Ken, I went and talked to a biochemistry advisor about my major. I was kind of afraid of what he would have to say; I was afraid that he was going to tell me that I was far behind in my classes and that it would take me forever to graduate. Sadly, I wasn’t far off. He gave me a sheet with all the classes that I would need to take, and in the order that I would need to take them. Within one glace I already knew two things: one, that I was already behind; two, I absolutely hated the thought of taking a majority of these classes.  Sure, they were all interesting classes, and I love science, but that’s all it was. Science. I need something a little more…interesting. 

I learned a lot from filling out this PDP. I learned that college is scary and I have no idea what I am going to do for the next four years…but that’s okay. I think the point of making an academic plan is so that you can find out ahead of time if something is going to work for you or not; if you find out you don’t like the major you have planned for, you still have time to change it and make a new plan. Also, what I learned connect to the ‘intellectual growth’ part of this section of the PDP. I was able to grow intellectually because I was able to see that the biochemistry major may not be for me. It also taught me that it is ok to not want to pursue a major. Biochemistry and Neuroscience may look really cool on a resume, but we should do something because we want to, not because they look cool.

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