Eight days into the new year, and my, oh my, how things have changed in my life.
It’s been just about three weeks since I officially left the city that stole my heart. A day hasn’t gone by since leaving that I haven’t missed the people I’ve met there, or the city of lights. In the wake of the terrorist attacks on Wednesday, I’ve found my heart aching for Paris.
Sadly, time is continuing to move forward, insisting that I remain in the present rather than living in the past. That’s easier said than done, but there have been too many exciting changes in my life over the past couple of days to not leave me excited.
I’ve made a big change in my college career. Second semester of my junior year, and I’ve decided to change my major. Again.
Let’s take a step back together so I can walk you through my thought process and the emotions that have lead me here.
To start, I think we need to go way back to the beginning of sophomore year. Just about when I started this blog! At that point in time, I had switched from Pre-Dental to Marketing, and then to Public Relations all in the span of about a month. I was so thrilled about my change from hard science classes to super interesting (and kind of easy) communication classes. At that point, I was also over taking Spanish classes and decided I wanted to start fresh with French. Honestly, mistake (or blessing) number one was when I decided to take Elementary French 1.
Throughout my sophomore year, I had a blast. It was honestly one of the more fun years of my life. I made new friends, grew more confident in myself, and wouldn’t change those for anything. But I also made mistakes, and near the end of the spring I found myself pretty bummed. I wasn’t incredibly passionate about any of the 6 classes I took last spring, except French. Even classes that were pre-requisites to my major weren’t exciting. I wasn’t sure what to do, but I decided to just push through until the first classes that were actually dedicated to my major.
During the spring, however, I was also in the middle of working on my application and all the documents necessary for my time abroad. I was excited about Paris, and in order to feel more prepared linguistically, I decided to take an intensive French course that would cover two entire semesters of French in four weeks time.
Those four weeks were incredibly exhausting due to school, work, and a social life, but I found myself continuously excited to go to my French class and continue to learn more. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I figured I might as well add a second minor to my Public Relations major and Business Administration minor. A major and two minors?! Look how hardworking and dedicated to learning I was!
So the week before I was supposed to leave for Paris, I found myself ridiculously anxious as I was trying to pack for four months of unknown adventures. Along with that I was sick. But it was fine, because I knew I was in control of my life, ya know?
Then August 23rd, 2014, I went to the ER with intense chest pains. As I’ve explained, I had a case of myocarditis that affected my left ventricle; despite the delay of my transatlantic flight, this was a sweet time with my family and a shift back to God that I needed before going abroad. However, God was planting much deeper seeds at this time than I realized.
When I finally made it abroad, I had a lot of expectations. With any life event, it’s natural to have big expectations, though not always healthy. I thought I would become much more interested and involved in the fashion industry. Whether I was going to try find an internship, merely standing outside during Paris Fashion Week and trying to spot celebrities, or just shopping until I was poor (spoiler, I was poor LITERALLY the entire semester). Because I wanted to go into fashion PR, and those seemed like the best avenues for me to enhance my major and future career.
But throughout the semester I found myself caring less and less about the fashion aspect of my time abroad. Maybe it was teachers who didn’t instill creativity, my own laziness, or my lack of money (honestly I’m still broke from this semester), but fashion PR was becoming less and less enticing.
As I got back to the States and looked to the upcoming semester, I felt completely lost. I knew I wouldn’t want to go into the fashion industry any longer, but I felt completely insecure making a decision about which direction to go. One day, I was sitting and talking with my parents and voicing my fears. I was throwing some different potential industries around and I mentioned the words “medical school” jokingly (but sort of not).
My mom asked if the medical field was really something I was interested in, and I laughed off the possibility of a completely new profession. Medicine? Me? That wasn’t even possible.
However, her question kept me thinking. Maybe I was supposed to look more in depth into this field. So over the next couple of days I took time for myself and with God to look into this possible switch in majors and careers. It wasn’t going to be easy, and it wasn’t going to occur quickly, but it didn’t seem out of the question.
This past week I had my check-up cardiologist appointment to see if there was any lasting damage from my myocarditis in August. With complete joy I can say that I have been cleared completely, and that my heart is functioning at full capacity; there is no lasting damage to the heart tissue and I am able to go off the medicine that regulated my heart rhythm. While my mom and I were at the hospital, we talked with my cardiologist about medical school, and I mentioned that it was a direction I was thinking about going. I don’t know what I was expecting, but his response far exceeded it.
He told me that he could tell I was smart, and that I could do the workload. He told me that just as importantly, I seemed like a people person and that along with my brain would help me make me a great doctor. Sign number one from the big guy upstairs.
I left the hospital excited, but also confused. Was this really something I was supposed to do? My classes started the next day, and I was considering completely changing my schedule and major. Was that the smart thing to do? It probably wasn’t, and even after doing it, I’m sure it wasn’t the “smart” thing to do. But God never asked us to be smart; He asked us to trust Him.
On Tuesday, after talking with my mom, my grandma, friends, etc., I decided to officially switch my major to French & Francophone Studies and Pre-Med. After my time in Paris I can’t imagine focusing on anything other than French. It was easily one of the most impactful parts of being abroad, and I can’t imagine changing that for anything. On top of my love for languages, I’ve always been drawn to medicine; my mom is a nurse and I’ve always admired her dedication and love for such a selfless job, and it has made me want to help others. With those two concentrations, I’ll have opportunities to help people in need (hopefully) around the world.
I’m so excited; I’m so scared. This is probably that most scared I’ve been about doing something in two years. It’s easily the scariest thing I’ve done since entering college (besides coming out cause that was hella scary). Because what I’m doing is insane. I realize that; I understand that my switch this late into school is wild. Some may even say that I’m making a mistake because it’s so late into my four years.
But the thing is I don’t see it that way. I don’t think that I’m making a mistake. I absolutely understand that my switch may seem absurd. It’s so close to the expected four years of graduation that changing now will set me back some. But I think this has been God’s plan all along. I started as Pre-Dental, and I enjoyed the science and math aspects of the major, but I didn’t feel like I could impact people in a significant way with that specific focus. So I decided to change majors to something that was “more fitting to my abilities.” I really do enjoying learning about communication and public relations. I think it’s they are both interesting subjects to learn about, but they aren’t things that I want to dedicate my life and career to. It took me a year to realize it, but I’m so glad I realized it now instead of ten years down the road.
I think the coolest thing about this switch is that I’m completely out of control. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved being in control. Whether it was being the leader during games as a child, or making my group of friends go to a certain place as a high schooler, I’ve prided myself in my ability to control situations (even if it’s just in my head).
I think I felt drawn to Public Relations because it would allow me to be self-sufficient. It was a major that I felt I could do well at, and it was my choice to do so. I could basically do well all on my own. And on top of that I could do well all on my own in four years; I was the textbook college student!
God loves putting me in situations that I don’t enjoy. He loves pushing me to embrace His sovereignty over my life in the most frustrating ways. By pushing me to change to French as my major, with Pre-Med, God knew that I would have to trust Him. Literally I was changing classes around at 11:00 pm the night before classes were starting, and of course I couldn’t get into the science courses I needed right away; another way in which I was forced to trust God. Classes were starting, and I was making the big switch to this major I feel such a massive draw to, and there were no openings in the classes I needed.
God always opens doors for His plans. I checked the registration website on Wednesday afternoon and was able to enroll in the Chemistry class I needed (with the most highly recommended lecturer), and yesterday I was able to get into the first Physics class I needed to enroll in this semester. It seemed like such an impossibility, but God goes before us. He always has paved the way before us. I’ve seen that so concretely over the past couple of days, and it’s humbling and beautiful.
I’m scared; I’m still completely terrified by the decision I’ve made. But I know this choice wasn’t put on my heart lightly, because I’ve thought about French and medicine for an extended period of time. I can hear God asking me to take a step towards Him in faith.
Faith is incredibly scary, because in faith we are asked to completely trust our life with a being we cannot see. We can feel Him and the ways that He leads us, but we’ve never met Him. Sometimes I wonder if people think I’m crazy for relying so heavily on God’s leadership. And then I always hear God say, “Bryce, trust me.”
That’s what I’ve been hearing over the past couple of days. “Bryce, trust me.” Trust. That’s all He’s asking for that from me right now; just open arms and steps towards his voice.
So I trust. Because that’s all I know how to do right now. I’m still completely and utterly scared by the direction my life is going; even as I’m writing this my hands are shaking. But I’m also beyond excited, so I trust.
To a God who knows infinitely better than I,
For comments & inquiries, please e-mail me at email@example.com
Follow me on Instagram: @brycelandes