Tuesday, September 16, 2014

3 Ways to Rekindle Your Passion Towards your Major

About once or twice a year, I go through a brief period of doubt. Mostly the doubt might center around my abilities, but sometimes it spills over into other aspects of my life. This was the case for me around this time last week. I was working every day and then rushing off to evening classes where I was reminded of the bottomless homework that would consume my life for the rest of this semester (and then start it all over again in January!!). Feeling overwhelmed by what lay ahead of me, I began to question why I am here in Illinois for graduate school. Not only was I questioning that, but I also thought to myself, "Do I even love nutrition and dietetics the way I once did?" In fact, I couldn't help but wish I were off in a foreign country teaching English as a second language to children. Doesn't sound very close in subject matter to nutrition, huh? 

However, as I was reminiscing on previous years of school, I realized that I have gone through this very same phase almost every year at this time. It all started when I was a freshman at South Dakota State University. I was in the midst of confusing lab reports and I recall questioning whether I could tolerate more in depth chemistry courses the rest of my college career. In fact, few people know that I even met with my adviser to discuss the possibility of switching to an elementary education major. This second-guessing of my career choice continued for the next two years. I particularly remember wishing that I was a journalism student as I was scraping by in my junior biochemistry course.

What do all of the scenarios have in common?  
I was able to endure all of the trials that were attached to the completion of my degree and at the end of the day, I was motivated by my passion towards the field of nutrition.

As I am finding myself in this same point in the current school year, I have had to take some time to reevaluate my goals and ponder the reasons why I am enthralled by the study of nutrition and dietetics. Since this scenario is common for college students and even people in their careers, I thought I would share the ways in which I approach rekindling my passion towards dietetics.

1.) Step Away and Think. 

When I find myself overwhelmed by school or any component of my life for that matter, I often must put down what I am doing and walk away. In my case, I usually have to run away...literally. Whenever I am sinking in my own thoughts, I tend to find myself going for my longest and fastest runs, because I have so much on my mind to sift through. Running, for me, is my way of escaping my current situation, while still sorting through solutions.

Think about what your escape is. Where do you do your best thinking? What is the best approach for you to be able to step away and think about where you are going in life?

2.) What is Your Vision?
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Reevaluating the vision you have for yourself is key in rekindling your passion towards your career. Where do you want to be in 10 years? What kinds of things do you want to have accomplished? What kind of people do you want to surround yourself with? Often our vision has changed over the years. For myself, the area of dietetics that I am most drawn to has changed tremendously since I first began my college career. However, if I don't reevaluate my vision, I am not certain of the path I am headed down and the necessary steps.

Once you have answered some of those questions, ask yourself: is what I am doing now helpful in achieving my 10 year vision? It will also be useful to write down a few goals that you hope to achieve along the way.

For some people, it might even be helpful to create a vision board. When I was younger and more creative, I would spend time paging through magazines and I would clip pictures out and create vision boards. If this is something that appeals to you, you might also consider Pinterest as an option.

3.) Perspective. Perspective. Perspective. 
One of the best things I can do for myself when I am struggling with any situation is to put it in perspective. I will often remind myself that I once doubted my career choice and did not believe in my ability to be successful in my classes. However, when I look back, I somehow always managed to survive. How will now be any different?

Wherever you are at within your excitement towards your career and even just life in general, I hope these three suggestions are helpful to you.

Have a great week!