Sydney Swanson

Iowa State helped Sydney discover which degree fit her passion

Sydney grew up with stories of Iowa State from her family, most of whom are Iowa State alumni. When it came time to decide her college, she had no problem choosing the place, but declaring a major proved to be a challenge.

Sydney enrolled in Iowa State as an athletic training major, but before her classes even begun she had decided she wanted to be a physician’s assistant and switched to kinesiology. She started taking some courses and realized she hated anatomy and had no desire to work with the human body for the rest of her life. She took a step back and did some searching to find her passion.

“I found out my passion to help people didn’t have to be working with them to make their bodies healthy,” she said. “I could do that in a variety of ways.”

After a good talk with her adviser, Sydney switched over to child, adult, and family services in the Human Development and Family Studies Department.  She loves how she can relate the courses to her life and notices the the theories by looking back at her own childhood.

Although she hasn’t decided which career she wants, Sydney is not worried. After attending a leadership conference in Washington D.C., she realized she did not need to rush through her time at college and that it is OK not to have a set plan.

“I feel like I’m at the point in my life right now that it’s totally fine to not know what I want to do with my life,” she said.

Sydney knows her passions and as long as she is making someone else’s life a little brighter, she will be happy. She has no problem staying an extra few years to make sure her degree allows this. She recommends other students try to see it this way too.

“I feel a lot of people pressure themselves to go four years so they pack 21 credits in each semester and get all done,” she said. “Then their grades decrease and so does their experience, which is just important. I am going to be that crazy grandmother who never stops talking about her crazy college experiences, and of course my college friends will be right next to me in the nursing home.”