My ah-ha moment came in the shape of a blustery, cold day. It was a snowy, so my friends and I naturally decided to spend the day watching movies. As I looked around at the jam-packed common room, I realized how lucky I am to be at Denison. In that room with me was a swimmer from California, a Theta from Wisconsin, a music major from Cleveland, a rugby player from Chicago – the list goes on and on and on. This is just part of the incredible picture of my Denison experience, but it’s one that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
The moment that changed everything.
Learning comes in a steady stream, inside class and beyond, but every once in a while it happens in a flash. This is the realization. The ah-ha moment. The unexpected experience that teaches the exact thing you didn’t know you needed to learn.
I didn't know general education classes would cause me to be more passionate about the field I want to go into! As a psychology major, I am interested in working in drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and we read and discussed a book in my sociology class about heroin addicts that affirmed my passion and desire to pursue that career.
My aha-moment at Denison was how I decided on my major. Throughout my first year, I was taking courses in diverse departments – computer science, art history, theatre, philosophy, women's studies – pretty much everything except what my majors are now. Although I was enjoying these classes, I was eager to choose a major. In the last few weeks of my first year, I was talking to a professor, and she told me to go with my gut, maybe not trying to figure out what I thought would be practical or would lead to a high paying career, but something that I loved. This advice led to a turning point for me. I then started focusing my decision on what classes I was driven toward, excelling in, and most excited about. After that I chose two majors, Communication and Anthropology & Sociology, and I've never looked back.
My ah-ha moment has to be coming into contact with so many people who are not … me. It felt great to be surrounded by people who come everywhere from Alaska to New York City, and really getting to know their lives and how we all ended up in this tiny, beautiful liberal arts college in central Ohio.
I've met the lacrosse player from New England, the pre-med major from Ohio, the artsy English/philosophy major from Pittsburgh, but each one is fantastic in their own way. Each one seems to be holding the building block for what makes Denison … Denison. And who would think that so many people, who are so different, could create a school and a student culture as strong as ours?
My ah-ha moment actually occurred a few days ago when I realized that you’re never idle in college. There is a constant exchange of information on campus—whether it’s in the classroom, dining hall, or passing on A Quad. There is a great quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.” College students are constantly exploring new ideas and formulating opinions on those experiences.
You’re always doing something at Denison. Even sitting in a dorm room and hanging out with friends can be productive. When I’m with my friends, we talk about serious stuff like politics and current events. No matter where you go on campus, you’re doing something.
I came to Denison with the idea ingrained in my head that college was purely a means to an end—finding a job was of the utmost importance, and this was just a steppingstone. I took classes in departments like Political Science, purely because they sounded marketable to me. But my true passion lay in English. I had been writing for as long as I could remember, crafting stories and poems and loving every minute. I didn’t think that “English major” was synonymous with “career” or “money,” though. So I tried to stay away.
But the moment I took my first creative writing course, I realized that life was about doing what you love—so I switched my major to English and embarked on a journey that has lead me here, to my second semester of senior year, with a book-length poetry manuscript and amazing memories of my time at Denison. I couldn’t be more proud of my choice. And guess what? I found a job as a writer halfway across the world—proof that if you follow your passion, your dreams might just come true.
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