11:19 AM, Thursday, January 12th, 2012.
I signed on the line and marked the date. “That’s it?” I asked my new advisor. “Yup. Since you’re not switching majors or changing into Dornsife, it’s that easy.” And that is how I went from undecided to a neuroscience major.
The processes leading up to this moment, however, were a bit more complex.
The previous morning:
It was a sunny day, like every day in Los Angeles. Perfectly breezy, cloudless, and warm. But on this serene day, I was running around campus like a madwoman. Because sometime in the middle of the night, it had occurred to me that international relations wasn’t really my thing. In my freshman colloquium class, BISC-194, I had been awestruck by the brilliant things I was learning about the body, but in IR-210, learning the difference between Machiavellian, Kantian, and Grotian approaches didn’t excite me all that much (though Professor Lamy is excellent and I highly recommend taking his class if you’re at all interested in philosophy, IR, etc.). So after I had this tremendous epiphany, I turned on my laptop and started looking for neuroscience classes that I could take instead; I narrowed down my class list to two psychology courses: Behavioral Neuroscience and Behavioral Genetics.
The problem was that I needed clearance for these classes because they each had prerequisites. I knew what I had to do. In the morning, I would simply call the neuroscience department and see if I could come in and discuss my future. Little did I know, the process would be slightly more complex than that.
When I called the neuroscience advising office, I discovered that appointments must be made 24 hours in advance, so I scheduled a meeting for 11am the following day. Not a big deal, but I still had a problem. It was Wednesday, and my IR class would be starting in two hours, but if I wanted to switch out, should I just not go to IR? Should I show up to Behavioral Genetics instead (it was scheduled at the same time as IR)? And which of the two classes should I show up to? I realized that the psychology department might be able to give me some answers.
Fortunately, the woman who picked up my call told me that I could try to walk-in and see one of the psychology advisors. So I got ready really quickly and biked over to SGM. Seeing as I was in a productive mood, I decided to take the stairs to the psych department on the 5th floor. (I would not recommend this—once I reached the mid-4th-5th floor platform I was so exhausted I almost didn’t think I’d be able to make it all the way. But I gathered my strength and eventually made it to the psych office.)
Out of breath and exhausted, I entered the office to find that the advisor was in a meeting, which I was told could last up to an hour. After a brief description of my dilemma, and after learning that the psych department did not take AP Statistics in lieu of PSYC-274 (which was the prerequisite needed for Behavioral Genetics), I was directed to a form that could request that my professor waive the Statistics requirement.
So at this point, I thought that everything was all set. Little did I know my adventure was just getting started…