As a girl of many interests, I have found consolation here at FIU in the endless options of majors, minors, and certifications available for undergraduate students. The diversity in career paths makes me feel welcome and supported because everybody is different yet the determination to graduate and thrive professionally is all the same.

My major is Civil engineering and I am also pursuing a certificate in Agroecology. Math has been my one true love since I can remember learning long division in the first grade. Little did I know that the job market for math majors was the sum of careers that I had absolutely no interest in. A minuscule list of dull professions (no offense math majors). So I decided on engineering because I enjoy hands-on activities– fixing, building, and creating things. Afterall, they say that when you do what you love, you won’t work a day in your life.

Two years into my civil engineering major and one internship later, I felt a void. My creativity was lacking and I began to feel little inspiration in myself. Inspiration to be better, more patient, kind, and thoughtful. These traits have nothing to do with my major, however, I remembered that my future job must be doing what I love, and I had not been at all fixing, building, or creating. The constant balancing of Bernoulli’s equation, deconvoluting hydrographs, and perfecting the cantilever theorem became mundane.

I relegated that, perhaps, I had no passion. I had no specific dream in mind that made me excited or motivated. An existential crisis, indeed. So, I decided to add the hands-on work that I had been yearning for and creativity that I needed so badly– and applied for a certification in Agroecology.

A literal breath of fresh air, I thought upon meeting the director of the program. Agroecology is the study of agriculture and ecology, encompassed by a 5-course program at FIU. It entails learning about sustainable agriculture, diverse ecology, nursery production, plant conservation, and floristry. One of the things that I have learned so far is how to propagate, which is the process of creating new plants using existing plant parts in different mediums.

I never expected that it would take digging my bare hands in fresh dirt to make me feel grounded, planting seeds through layers of mulch and compost to teach me patience, or tediously watering perennial flowers to inspire me to be more thoughtful.  Today, I am so thankful for FIU for allowing me the freedom to choose my own path and explore my interests. I am a senior now, graduating soon, yet enjoying every single minute of my college career. After all of this, I am proud to say that I am a green-thumbed civil engineer!

Author: Ana Malagon 

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