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“I was a first time in college student at UCF when I started. I started with the traditional honors track and majored in Psychology. I switched to Industrial Engineering halfway through the summer, but then halfway through the freshman fall semester, I switched back to Psychology. Even when I got in and out of the major, I still wanted to take the traditional psychology path, like I wanted to go to grad school, do research, and get a Ph.D.

“I started working the BHC front desk the spring of my freshman year. And the Honors College really was a wake-up call for me. I tell people BHC changed my life, like that’s so cliché but it did. It actually was this past spring like a year ago when everything first went remote, so I was still working for the Honors College in admissions. I was monitoring the emails, processing applications, but we were also doing things like virtual visits to try and encourage students to come to UCF. And I noticed I would be really, really excited to do that work, like every time when we had a visit coming up, I would be super pumped about it days before. But this time I was still working in my research lab and I just did not have the same enthusiasm for the work I was doing. I would put the work off for a while because I wasn’t as excited about it, while I would do a bunch of extra work [for BHC] and have all these ideas for how we could make admission stuff work even though we were remote. And I would be thinking about that and focusing on a lot more. I’ve always had Higher Education in the back of my mind because I have a lot of friends who did it and advisers and staff at BHC had a similar path, where they had similar jobs and then went and got a Master’s in Higher Ed. So, it was always in the back of my head and that was my wake-up call to, like, make it stop being on the backburner and genuinely consider it.

“I have a list of about 6 [graduate] schools. I’m not applying yet because next fall is when I plan to apply. But I’m excited; I’m excited about grad school. I think my work with BHC prepares me for grad school because the work I’m doing now not only directly applies to the program but also to what I’ll be doing in my career. My work has definitely taught me a lot about the inner-workings of administration as well as things like how scheduling, advising, and admission go. It has taught me a lot of intricacies that no one talks about but expects you to perform later on.

“Thinking back and putting everything together, I always tell people not to be scared about [switching majors.] Thankfully when I rushed my fraternity my freshman year, I got to meet a lot of people who were older and have changed their majors. It helped me not to be so scared of it. And I think that’s the beauty of college, like nothing is set in stone. Of course, the further you are along your major path, it might be harder to change majors, but that’s what honors advisors are for. I’ve talked to so many of the honors advisors, like ‘hey, I’m thinking about doing this and taking that class. What do you think?’ These are people who you can talk about it and can help you make those decisions. But I think you just need to have the courage to start those conversations and not being afraid of what people will think. Do what’s best for you.”

Lia Fiore Headshot 1