Figuring it All Out, At My Own Pace

Aerial photo of Rowan Campus.

From a lackluster start during Covid, to dropping out, to discovering herself in a new major

Kara Romanies, a sophomore advertising major from Swedesboro, NJ (Gloucester County) shares this first-person perspective on the challenges of figuring out her career path, feeling left behind while others seemed to have it all figured out, and the importance of taking her time to explore different options and find her own path.

Even from a young age children are expected to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. When most kids are asked they answer with a firefighter, astronaut, ballerina, or even chef. Children having goals and aspirations is amazing, but I always wondered how they found it so easy to pick an activity that they are passionate enough about to start basing their whole future around it. That never happened for me, and that’s an isolating feeling. 

Young kid playing violin.

I always wondered how they knew. Am I falling behind because I don’t know? I know that I’m not the only one that doesn’t know, but when am I going to find out? I felt like I was missing something, I felt left behind. 

As I got older I assumed that one day it would just come to me, a big lightbulb moment where the perfect occupation would just fall into my lap when the time was right, but I was young I knew I still had time to figure it all out. 

Once I got to my senior year of high school I realized my time was quickly running out it was time to choose a major. Everyone around me either had a plan, a career, or a trade that they were pursuing. I knew some people were undecided, but not knowing was unsettling. I knew I had to go to school, what else would I do? 

Student surrounded by books and papers.

I decided to study communications. It was broad enough that I could still have more time to decide, plus it wasn’t anything like nursing or chemistry where I’d have to take labs that last hours and stay awake all night. 

I graduated high school in 2020, which had its ups and downs, but transitioning from high school to college during a global pandemic was tough. I decided not to move into school, since everything was online there was no real need to move into campus and if I stayed home I could keep working. 

I lasted about a few good months until working 30 hours a week and doing school completely from my bedroom. The ‘alone’ feeling started to overwhelm me. It was hard to care, college didn’t feel real, nothing did. I ended up dropping out, skipped the rest of my finals and assignments, and failed one of my classes, which wasn’t too bad considering. 

Student with a laptop.

I spent the next year working at CVS. It was okay, a nice steady job, but I had been there since I was 16, but by the time I turned 20 it just started to feel repetitive. When September rolled around all my friends started going back to school, and I felt that same feeling of being left behind that I had before. I was now missing out on this huge milestone that so many people got to experience, and I still had no idea what I wanted to do. I knew the last thing I wanted to do was stay home and work at CVS for the rest of my life. Something had to change.

If I wanted to get out of the house without paying rent my best bet was to go to college. I would have to pay student loans, but if I stayed local it would be nearly half the price of the out-of-state school. 

I went back to Rowan for communications because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do the work, I can apply myself, and finish at least a semester of school. If I didn’t like it I didn’t have to go back. I just wanted to do a semester, live on campus, and experience everything that I thought I had been missing out on.

Two students in class.

That semester wasn’t easy, but by the end, I felt proud of myself that I finished. I had a sense of accomplishment when I could say that my grades were good, but I didn’t quite feel that a communications studies degree was a strong fit for me. 

After I thought about it I decided to continue studying communications, but have a more narrow focus on advertising. I wanted to stay in the same field, but I wanted to focus more on a specific topic. I liked that it still has communication aspects, but it also felt like something that I could be more creative with. 

I’m now excited about my future classes and excited to continue my studies and have even been considering picking up a minor in public relations. Even though it took me longer than I thought to find out what I wanted to do, I did it at my own pace, and I am satisfied with where I am and how I got here. 

I chose Rowan because it was close by and more affordable, but I stayed at Rowan because it made me feel a sense of purpose, and it gave me a reason to continue learning and growing. 

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Written by: Kara Romanies, sophomore advertising major

Story edited by: Valentina Giannattasio, junior dance and marketing double major

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