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BEZAWADA: Students should go with gut on life's path

Opinions Column: Traipse the Fine Line

If you read The Daily Targum’s opinion pieces last semester, you might recall reading an article with this byline: "Sruti Bezawada is a Rutgers Business School freshman hoping to transfer into the School of Arts and Sciences and double major in computer science and communications. Her column, 'Traipse the Fine Line,' runs every alternate Thursday." Two things have changed since then: First, my column runs every alternate Wednesday now.

And more importantly, I am not going to transfer into the School of Arts and Sciences. In other words, I am no longer pursuing computer science.

That is not to say my interest in the subject has waned. It is the story surrounding my experience that is amusing.

Before I officially entered my first semester, I was dead set on following through with computer science as my major. Although I was proud to have been accepted as a Rutgers Business School student, something about the ability to program was beyond fascinating, and I quickly latched onto the idea that I could abandon everything else to focus on computer science primarily. That was my first mistake, and when I look back on it now, it is actually kind of funny.

I launched my short-lived computer science career with Introduction to Computer Science, which also fulfilled the Computer Applications for Business prerequisite for Rutgers Business School students. For the first time, I got lost trying to find the class. That was probably a sound omen, but I did not know back then.

The professor was engaging, attentive and incredibly passionate about computer science. But after some time, I realized I was not finding myself invested in the material and the homework. While everyone else would view them as challenging and exciting, I was struggling just to pinpoint what exactly I was having trouble with. My complete lack of prior experience did not help either.

Soon, Microeconomics grew more comprehensible. The discovery was dreadful to me — I had centered the rest of my college life around computer science! I was convinced I would never have to worry about switching majors. I was even ready to forego my position in the Rutgers Business School to pursue it, but now my plans were falling apart and I had no idea why. I spent the rest of the semester mentally denying the apparently life-altering fact that maybe, just maybe, computer science was not for me.

That whole debacle exposed to me three revelations about life.

First, it is naïve to assume that plans will remain intact over a number of years, especially in college. Things will always change. Most economics majors and Rutgers Business School students are constantly reminded that economics is the study of how people make decisions in the face of scarcity and uncertainty. There will always be a degree, small or large, to which things might go unexpectedly in a way we do not always appreciate. But situations like those are bound to happen in the real world, and it is important to be flexible enough to accommodate those changes — it will save a lot of pain and anxiety in the long run.

And it is just as important to accommodate those changes with a positive attitude. I endured months of denial while keeping up with classes and it was exhausting. If you have even the slightest inkling that you may be better off doing something else, trust it. Wholeheartedly accepting your perspective on a situation is just as important as taking into account the job market, your family’s viewpoint, your advisors’ counsel — none of them matter if you do not like what is happening. In fact, learning what you dislike is often as helpful as learning what you like. It is a wholesome, all-rounded approach that will make you appreciate the struggles you are enduring, as odd as it sounds.

And finally, it is okay not to have a reason. People tend to blame themselves when life does not go their way, and I believe it may just be a societal thing — the notion of “be responsible for yourself” can warp into “blame yourself for whatever goes wrong.” It is human nature to assign a cause for unexplainable circumstances or a scapegoat for their consequences and moral teachings that emphasize personal accountability — that we are both the cause and the scapegoat. As students, we struggle to draw the fine line between the two, and we continue to tread along it carefully, like children terrified of slipping on a balance beam.

By tiptoeing, people forget about the amazing world surrounding them and miss the scenery. Maybe some reach the other end not tripping once, but in the process, they have not explored, immersed, connected, fleshed out their own character. In the end, it is happiness that makes life worth living. I, for one, do not regret for a second attempting computer science. I was introduced to a different perspective, made many good friends and above all, learned that I am not a STEM kid, but a business one.

Sruti Bezawada is a Rutgers Business School first-year double majoring in marketing and communications and minoring in Japanese. Her column, “Traipse the Fine Line,” runs every alternate Wednesday.


*Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

YOUR VOICE | The Daily Targum welcomes submissions from all readers. Due to space limitations in our print newspaper, letters to the editor must not exceed 500 words. Guest columns and commentaries must be between 700 and 850 words. All authors must include their name, phone number, class year and college affiliation or department to be considered for publication. Please submit via email to oped@dailytargum.com by 4 p.m. to be considered for the following day’s publication. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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