A Girl in Flux



Marina Vergara, FCLC ’22, entered Fordham on a certain path. But as she begins her sophomore year, she finds herself on a different one.


To whomever needs this,

Let me start this off by telling you my story. It begins with me as a freshman in the Fordham/Ailey B.F.A. program, and it ends (spoiler alert) with me as a sophomore on the road to becoming an English major, not one leotard in sight. Here’s what happened. 

This summer I changed my major. To many this may seem like a small decision; people change their majors all the time. It’s no big deal, right? But for me, this was a major life choice, because changing my major meant leaving behind what was my dream –– dancing in the Fordham/Ailey B.F.A. program. Dancing in this program was my goal; I hoped and prayed to get in, and when I was fortunate enough to, I was ecstatic. I was grateful to be able to dance in one of the nation’s top dance programs while still getting a degree, all in the dance capital of the world. I was living my dream. 

But after a while, my mental health took a turn for the worse, and my dream became a nightmare. I have dealt with mental illness for most of my life, specifically clinical depression and anxiety. I take medication everyday, and I am not ashamed of that. Depression and anxiety are a part of my life, but sometimes they take over. Anyone who struggles or has struggled with mental illness will know that depression has a way of creating a nasty haze of self-hatred and self-criticism that ruins anything it touches. For me, my depression targeted my passion — dance. Dance turned into this torturous thing that fueled my depression, forming an endless cycle of internal torment. I spent classes holding back tears (sometimes unsuccessfully), riddled with anxiety. I had to make it stop. So I made a change, left the dance program and changed my major.

You may be wondering, “Why should I care about this one girl’s story about her changing her major?” To that, I say, I hope that you can connect with my story in some way, no matter how small, and that that connection will bring you comfort knowing someone else out there understands. I hope you see that everyone is always metamorphosing; we are all in a constant state of flux moving from caterpillar to butterfly and back again. Change is scary believe me I know but maybe it will be less scary knowing change is normal, natural, human. We all go through it, why not be more honest about it?

My journey to changing my major taught me a lot about myself and my life. I learned to accept change, almost see it as a friend. Change is everywhere and it is always happening. I learned that change involves loss; it’s guaranteed. Whatever new path you are choosing, regardless of how much better it may be, there is still an old one left behind. And this loss must be remembered, mourned. But I have also learned that the mourning is temporary, and moving on is possible; after embracing my new uncharted path, I felt a lot happier. I learned that change is necessary and natural; sometimes your body will tell you when it needs a renaissance — listen to it. Don’t keep doing something that doesn’t make you happy out of an artificial feeling of obligation; doing something simply because you feel as though you have to, or as though you should do it, and not because you truly want to, will not make you any happier, trust me. I danced because I felt like I had to, not because I wanted to, and this disparity made me unhappy. The pressure of feeling required to go down a certain path can be overwhelming, but it is also okay to make a change, and do something for yourself instead of everyone around you. It’s okay to put yourself and your mental health first. It’s okay to be kind to yourself. It’s okay to change. 

My future is uncertain, but I am learning to like it that way. I can’t wait to see where you and I end up.

All the best,