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Major Decisions

Antonio Ceredi's Colossus sculpture


By Elizabeth Henry

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Henry

It’s the beginning of a new semester and, for some, a completely new experience as a college student. Whether a new or returning student, we all signed up for a learning experience that goes beyond the four walls of the classroom. College is not just a ticket to financial success—it is the opportunity to discover what we are passionate about, and what we will be doing for the rest of our lives. The important thing is that we get the most out of our experience.

One of the most helpful things for me has been steadily seeing a counselor. I felt quite apprehensive coming into college. For one, I started my first semester of college at twenty-seven years old. Perhaps this has become more acceptable in the last decade or so—the idea of an adult going back to school. New college students aren’t necessarily fresh out of high school anymore. More and more students graduating high school are beginning to take a year or two off to work and to think about what they would like to do before transitioning in to the next big phase of life. I think it’s important that the pressure is removed of feeling like you have to have it all figured out by the time you are eighteen years old.

“I wouldn’t have had the chance to fully

see what I am capable of.”

I cannot tell you how many people I have talked to that started with one major in mind and halfway through their college experience ended up changing to a completely different major. My political science professor started with a theology major in mind and in the process of completing his general education discovered his passion for political science. My history professor had a similar experience—he began as a physics major and then changed his major to history.

While you may not always see the importance of general education courses, as they can seem to be completely irrelevant to what you will be doing for the rest of your life, the truth is that at times, it is while taking these very courses you find what you are passionate about—and what you will be doing for the rest of your life. Some complain about general education and just want a passing grade so they can check it off the list. But you never know, you may find your major of choice through a general education class.

Antonio Ceredi, a fellow student at Shasta College pursuing a music major, shared with me about his most recent experience in a ceramics class he took over the summer. In coming back to school he was so busy with work and other activities that he had to choose classes that worked with his schedule—putting him in the position to pick classes he wouldn’t have necessarily chosen. One of those courses was a ceramics course. Antonio completely surprised himself, as well as his fellew classmates and his professor, with his natural talent in sculpting. Seeing Antonio’s talent, his classmates offered him their excess clay, which he put to good use creating fountains, dragons, and a pagoda (a traditional Japanese house). Professor Michael Bliven also offered Antonio extra clay and tools, giving him the means to continue to design and create clay sculptures, such as the one featured (above).

“I’m going to be doing this forever.

Yeah, it’s not something that I’m doing just for class,

it’s no longer just for fun—it’s a passion.”

This particular work is modeled after a character from one of Antonio’s favorite video games, Shadow of the Colossus. Antonio had the opportunity to combine two of his passions, gaming and ceramics, in part thanks to the general education process. Antonio feels indebted to Professor Bliven and his fellow classmates for their generosity. He shared, “Michael has been a huge support… If I wouldn’t have taken his class I don’t think I would be where I am with ceramics. I wouldn’t have had the chance to fully see what I am capable of.” He added, “And with the support of all my classmates and Michael, I mean, I’m going to be buying my own kiln. I’m going to be doing this forever. Yeah, it’s not something that I’m doing just for class, it’s no longer just for fun—it’s a passion.”

What kinds of things will you discover as you knock out those units? While we still may not be sure exactly where we are headed, one thing is certain: we all find ourselves making major decisions (wa wa waaaa).  With the first two weeks of school behind us and a clean slate for the new semester, and really the rest of our lives, we have the chance to embrace the experience with an open mind, realizing that this is supposed to be about discovering what we are passionate about—and what we will spend the rest of our lifetimes accomplishing.



Comments (1)

  • Emily

    So true! I have definitely learned so much about myself, and my direction for the future, through multiple general education classes.


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