The day my cat, miao miao, died, I changed my major. I was an architecture student, but the loss of my beloved cat did something to me that architecture couldn’t replace.After some sessions with a therapist, I decided to pursue that line of education and career.
It wasn’t that I didn’t like architecture; on the contrary, I enjoyed it though the teachers were demanding. My drawing and designs were often criticized, but it was a challenge to do better, to plan better designs that meet the changing moods and lifestyles of the populace. It was creative. I enjoyed that aspect and thought it would be my career, like Dad, an architect whom I admire.
In a general psychology class, I saw a partial solution to the criticisms of my architecture professor. Dr. Cheng, our psychology professor, reminded us that psychology was a training of critical thinking, a science of behavior and mental processes. In many of my designs and drawings, I relied on intuition and common sense. If only I could know more about the mental and emotional processes of humans, it would make me more effective in my designs. Psychologybecame a key complement to architecture to me, as a form of romantic creativity.
That was when my beloved cat, miao miao, died, and the whole world changed. I blamed mom for being the messenger, for failing to care for him while I was away in college. It caused a rift between us because I said some very harmful words, which compounded my sense of loss with guilt and anger. I was in turmoil and decided to seek help at the Tunghai University counseling center.
The therapist, Mrs. Chang, tolerated my outburst and anger on the first visit. On subsequent visits, I told hereverything about my beloved cat. She helped me find closure for the loss and taught me to express my guilt and anger in a way where I could live with myself. I had to reconcile with my mom, but she had already forgiven me and we were able to find closure for our loss together. That evening I sat in the living room and looked around at the home my father had built—a beautiful home I have always enjoyed living in. But my heart was intrigued by something about what had happened to me in this process.
After some deep soul searching, I decided to change my major to Psychology, to do something my therapist was doing, something where creating solutions for life was more immediate, more tactile. I used the same calmness I learned from Mrs. Chang and discussed the matter with my parents. After some questions and discussions, they embraced my decision and supported the change.
This began a long journey where I started my application to come to the United States to pursue my new interest in Psychology. I enrolled in East Los Angeles College where I decided to pursue my general education. The struggle with the language as an international student is obvious, and I have embraced all its difficulties. I see the language as a medium for me to learn more about Psychology and to be a part of the conversation. Now it is time for me to continue my education in a four-year university and I look forward to the challenge that awaits me at the University of California. In retrospect, I was asked to choose a major when I was eighteen—too young to make a decision that will impact me for the next fifty years. Now I am asked to make another decision, but I am a little older. What’s important to me is the sense of belonging I feel in Psychology. Architecture is not behind me; its creativity exists within me, but I am ready to pursue my new major, Psychology. I hope that the UC system will find a place for me and give me chance to pursue this interest. By the same token, I carry with me the same attitude to pursue what speaks to me most in Psychology.


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