Switching Majors: From Cautious to Confident

When I started my first semester at Kent State, I wasn’t a Psychology major. I was a Journalism major who was interested in psychology. But, by the end of my first semester, I knew that journalism wasn’t for me, so I switched my major. Although it felt right and I was really happy with my decision, there was a part of me that was nervous.

Maftuna at the Rock on campus

Up until that point, all of my psychological knowledge was informal, gleaned from documentaries and articles; what if I was just chasing after something I was superficially interested in?

The first time I took a 2000s level course though, I knew that I had made the right decision. It was Honors Child Psychology, and I loved that class. It was a very interesting topic and I particularly enjoyed it when my professor spoke about her experiences in researching some of the topics covered in class. I remember sitting there, feeling awe-struck. That’s exactly what I wanted – a chance to be able to see what psychology looked like in practice.

That’s why I jumped at the chance to get involved when she mentioned that her lab was looking for research assistants.

I won’t lie. I was nervous about applying because I had never been a research assistant before. Thankfully, the graduate students in my lab were kind and helped me get acclimated. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have their guidance those first few weeks, because the learning curve was steep for me.

I didn’t know what an Institutional Review Board was until I needed to be approved by one. Now that I’ve been a research assistant for one semester, I feel like I have worlds of knowledge that I wouldn’t be able to get in any lecture. I firmly believe it enriched my education because I got to see the very concepts I was learning about in class be used in the work I was doing.

It is exciting to know that I’m contributing to something bigger, something that could potentially change the way we view the world.

Maftuna by the sea

I feel more capable and confident as a result. For instance, while I wanted to graduate with an Honors diploma, I was originally too daunted by the idea of a senior Honors thesis project to consider it. Now, I’m excited by the prospect, because I know what the process entails and now I know people I can ask for guidance. 

Now, I’m mostly overwhelmed by the opportunities before me, both on a small and grander scheme. I’m excited to choose a topic for my thesis project because it gives me a chance to work on something that I care about.

I’m also excited because I’m considering pursuing a Ph.D., and an Honors thesis project will be a test run for what I hope to do in the future.

I’m so glad that I decided to become a research assistant because it ultimately changed my life for the better. My experience with it has given me the curiosity and the confidence to aim higher and pursue new things. 

Admissions Student Blog

POSTED: Friday, March 31, 2023 09:02 AM
UPDATED: Saturday, May 18, 2024 03:24 PM
Maftuna Abduganieva