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Exploring What You Love

Before coming to Harvard, I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life.

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I was set to study Chemistry. I had taken Honors and AP Chem in high school and had done pretty well. I was President of Chemistry Club (Nerd. I know.) and I enjoyed the subject and all the fun experiments. I was ready to spend my days in a lab coat and become a pharmacist working on making medication more affordable for those who need it. It seemed like a good life plan that could also provide economic stability.

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My first semester at Harvard, I didn’t let myself fully engage in shopping period (the first week of the semester when you can try out different classes before choosing your final four classes for the semester) the way I should have. I had already selected my classes for the semester. My plan was to take Math, Life Sciences, French, and Expos (a required writing seminar for freshmen). I shopped one class that was more on the social science side which I really enjoyed and wished I had more time for in my schedule. I told myself I would make room second semester to take a “fun” class.

Second semester, I kept that promise to myself. I took a class at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE - pronounced “hug-see”) called Contemporary Immigration Policy and Educational Practice. After the first day of class, I felt like this.

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But every other Wednesday after this amazing class, I would finish up my pre-lab report and get ready for a five hour Organic Chemistry class right after. After a long day, I dreaded going to this 6-11pm lab. Five hours per week. What would forty hours be like?

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And then someone asked me why I wanted to study Chemistry.

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I didn’t have an answer. I heard other people talk about the things they were studying with so much excitement. I had been re-thinking my concentration and career plans since September, but I had already invested a whole year into this plan. I was unsure of what I wanted to do and worried about what other people would think.

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(The Notebook spoiler warning)

After a year it all finally clicked. Putting together the joy I felt in my class at the Graduate School of Education and my love of working with people, I realized I had a different plan in mind. I wanted to work with and provide support for people. I didn’t feel like I could get that kind of feeling of fulfillment while working in a lab.

I realized I didn’t have to “make room” for fun classes. My entire schedule could be filled with them. I should be excited to go to class. I started planning to take courses that were more appealing to me like…

Higher Education: Institutions, Inequalities, and Controversies. Introduction to Social Movements. Introduction to Political Sociology.

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I realized I would like to study Education after college. Chemistry didn’t seem like the best path for that. So I decided to give Sociology a try.

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I will be starting my first semester of just fun classes in a month.

About the author

Hi everyone! My name is Laura Veira-Ramirez, and I am a rising sophomore at the College. I will be living in Leverett House for the next three years. I was born in Bogota, Colombia, but my family... View full profile

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