As a nursing major, Keene State College senior Aryanah Haydu went about her day taking classes, doing homework and studying for tests, but behind the door of the soon-to-be psych nurse was a girl that was passionate about writing.
After taking her ITW class, “Literature of Social Justice” her first year at Keene, the Essex, Connecticut native was approached by her professor who told her she was in the wrong major. “[Professor Jack Bouley] told me I should really consider switching my major to writing,” Haydu said.
During her class, Haydu wrote about how rap culture conveys African American history.
Though she was encouraged by her professor, Haydu continued her sophomore year as a nursing major. “I talked to my parents [about switching] and they weren’t having it,” she said. Haydu said she didn’t feel “super immersed” in the nursing major.
After taking nursing classes, Haydu realized that she hadn’t taken one psychology class to help her become a psych nurse. “The program wasn’t like that at all,” Haydu said. “I felt like I was just doing things for the sake of doing them and getting it over with.”
After much consideration, Haydu decided to pull the trigger and become a writing major.
“It came to the point at the end of my sophomore year that I just told my parents, ‘Sorry if you don’t support me, but I’m going to switch to writing,’” Haydu said.
As her junior year began in 2015, Haydu dove into the writing major full speed.” The good thing about the nursing major,” Haydu said, “is that they make you take all of your integrative studies classes early because you have to do clinical.”
Haydu was in great shape to make the switch. Her junior year was full of strictly writing classes: experimental essay writing, creative nonfiction, fiction workshop, literature analysis, etc.
Just before making the switch, Haydu heard the rumors that the nursing program would be making cuts. “I had pretty good grades, but it was always in the back of my mind,” she said. “I knew there was a lot of people that wanted to be in the nursing program that weren’t, or who would have been kicked out, so I maintained average,” she said.
Haydu said the cuts the nursing program was making “affected her decision” to switch to writing.
Although it usually is a struggle for any student to switch majors during their junior year and still graduate on time, Haydu made it work. After taking her IS classes her first two years at Keene, she was able to take all of the required classes to fulfill her writing major in just three semesters.
Haydu will actually be graduating early in December of 2016.
Haydu said she hates the question, “What do you want to do with writing?” She said people call her major stupid, and that she’ll never be successful.
“I’ve always had a passion for writing ever since I was little kid; I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” she said. As for her future, Haydu wants to prove everyone wrong and be a successful writer. She said she wants to work as a content writer for a non-profit organization.
Right now, Haydu is working for NextGen Climate as a content writer, and she has even worked for KSC’s Eco Reps, writing content for their website. Eventually, Haydu said she wants to teach writing at the University level and maybe even write and publish some of her own work.
Although she will no longer be a psych nurse, Haydu said she can still combine psychology within her writing. “You need to know things about other people and psycho-analyze other people and yourself,” she said.
Five years from now, Haydu sees herself out west, preferably in Colorado or Utah, working with a company whose values she agrees with.
As for advice for other students looking to make a dramatic change in major, Haydu said “it’s definitely worth it to do something you want to do.”
“You’re here paying for classes, so it should be improving you and bringing you somewhere you want to go,” she said. Haydu said she has heard many seniors say that they wish they had chosen a different major, and she believes doing something you love will be worth it in the end.
“Screw people who ask you what you want to do with your life and tell you your major is pointless,” she said.
MacKenzie Clarke can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org