He wants us to do what?" I said, wrinkling my nose in disgust. As a freshman nursing major, I was sitting in my Tuesday afternoon chemistry lab, where we were learning about enzymes. That day's assignment was to chew a stick of gum and to spit two ounces of saliva into a beaker. We'd then use the enzymes in the saliva as a catalyst in a chemical reaction.
Pretty soon, the other students were chewing, spitting, and sometimes missing. I felt my stomach turn.
My classmates noticed the expression on my face. "Jocelyn, if a little spit bothers you, you're probably not cut out to be a nursing major," one chuckled. She was just teasing, but I thought, maybe nursing really isn't a good fit for me.
"Don't worry, honey," my mom said when I called later that day. "It took me a little while to get used to my nursing classes, too. But you'll adjust, just like I did." I knew Mom wanted to comfort me, but something about being a nursing major just didn't feel right.
Even though I got decent grades in my nursing classes that semester, I worried constantly about my future: If this is the major for me, then why do I hate it so much?
I didn't get a sense of what I should do until I was home for the summer. One week I was at a Christian conference and the minister preached about God's will. The point of her sermon was that as Christians, it would be tragic to live our whole lives without finding our true purposethe place where God could best use our gifts.
I promised myself I would choose a major and career path I could really love.
The following week, I decided to tell my mother about my choice. "Mom, I can't be a nursing major anymore. I don't have a passion for it, and I think I would be better at something else."
By the look on her face, I could tell she wasn't in the mood to talk about it.
"Jocelyn, you know you would make a good nurse," Mom said. "Besides, you would always have a job."
"But I need more than job security. I want to be happy," I said.
"I've been thinking about a communication major. I've always enjoyed writing and speaking. I'm sure I could get a job using those skills."
"Honey, you can use those skills in nursing," she said. "I can't wait for you to start your first job; I just see you going to the top."
"Mom, I know you love me and that you are only trying to help. But nursing just isn't working for me."
She looked at the floor and sighed. "I just want you to be happy. And if you think a communication major will make you happy, you might as well try it."
I know that Mom didn't totally agree with my decision. But knowing that she wanted me to be happy made me feel a little better. After some prayer and research, I became a business communication major.
I could tell that Mom was still a little uneasy about my choice. To be honest, I was a little scared too! But as each semester passed, I knew I'd made the right decision.
I enjoyed my classes and earned great grades. I did several internships, including one in Washington, D.C. Over time, as Mom saw my passion for my classes, she slowly began to feel more at ease about my major.
"Well Jocelyn, you picked a major you love and you are learning to enjoy each and every day," she said during the fall of my junior year. "That alone makes you a success in my eyes."
Jocelyn is a recent graduate of Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois.