Life as a STEM Major

By: Annabelle Cantu – Promotora de STEM

Life as a STEM major is just about what you would imagine it to be. I almost always get the same facial reaction from people when asked what I am studying, followed by either an “ew”, “wow”, or my personal favorite “why”. In society today STEM careers are in high demand, yet there does not seem to be enough college students up for the challenge of pursuing STEM degrees: a problem to which I would ask the same question, why?

Since my freshman year here at CSULB about 85% of the friends I have met in STEM courses have switched their major out of the realm of science. I entered this university knowing that there was only one route for me – chemistry. Similar to my friends I started to realize the difficulty and demand of the classes I was taking my second year. I became depressed with my academic performance and uncertain if I was good enough to stay a chemistry major. I reached out to an advisor and a few professors and seemed to get the same answer – switch majors. I contemplated switching out of science, but realized I did not come to college to major in something I was not passionate about. Fortunately the same semester I had joined the Hispanic Health Opportunities Learning Alliance (H2OLA) and had a graduate mentor to talk through my problems with.

To this day I never regretted staying with my major. After struggling I realized that no one is going to believe in your abilities if you don’t believe in yourself in the first place, and that you are not going to believe in yourself unless you give yourself a reason to.