Ending My Long and Stormy Relationship with Zicklin

By Aleksandra Ryshina, Peer for Career

The Zicklin School of Business and I have had a difficult relationship. I prepared to enter the school, knowing it wouldn’t be easy, but assured that I could handle it, that I was different. Sure the pre-requisites were hard, and I had zero interest in business, but wasn’t this what Baruch was all about? I had seen many students share an article online that had Zicklin as a top ten school of business, not far from Wharton. Top ten? Top ten! In an age all about numbers, this range was great to hear. I convinced myself that Zicklin had a good reputation, and that I would somehow find something in it for me. Along with this came the relief of having a “difficult major”, one that would attract law schools more than an “easy” humanities major. And so began the troublesome relationship.

I could almost hear Zicklin’s words inside my head, “You’ll never find anything better than me.” At first, the idea of being an Economics major was appealing-a kind of educational arm candy that I used to please my parents and confuse my book-club friends. Yet as the relationship continued, our disagreements grew much greater. I started to develop a wandering eye, one that was easily attracted to English theory and government classes, and I often wondered just how happy or how interested I was in my business classes. With Zicklin, I lacked the proper exploration I needed, since I was under constant pressure to complete its prerequisites.

Still, I went forward, taking almost all the necessary business prerequisites this fall semester. Taking required classes for Zicklin was like dating a vegan Pilates instructor; a thrilling challenge, but one that leaves you exhausted and longing for cheesecake. My disdain grew, and I resorted to making a pros and cons list, trying to get a grip of my future. This internal battle led to sleepless nights, studying for tests and quizzes, and a search history populated by questions like, “Can I still be rich without college,” and, “Is a coin toss a proper way to make a tough decision?” And then, without warning, I stopped doing well in my business classes. Until that point, I did not think I needed Zicklin, since I had many options for a major in the other schools. As midterms concluded, however, it was Zicklin that did not need me. There I was, stuck in a sea of students who knew they desired a business major, feeling like I was about to sink. I wish I could say someone tossed me a line, or that I relinquished the test scores, or anchors, that held me down, but my escape was and is a little different. I did not “swim to shore”, using Weissman as my safety net.

I realized that, in my college career, there would be no “easy” classes to take. For some, formulas and calculations are a second language; for others, research and writing come naturally. It was all to easy to go with the tide and pine for a career that wasn’t mine. I loved literature and writing intensive courses, and I knew that my interest would only better my grades. This realization came with some bridges to burn. Firstly, I had to switch my attention to Weissman courses, but that’s not to say that my experience with Zicklin had no use. Zicklin gave me some wonderful insights into the business field and a whole new perspective on how the economy operates. It is with these important learnings that I went forward and chose to be a Political Science major.
My love for humanities and my acceptance of a major not as frequently pursued in Baruch was not a rebound, nor a ploy to make Zicklin jealous. It was a chance to learn and grow in an environment where competition and hard work was indistinguishable among the majors.
I had never before felt so honest saying, “Zicklin, it’s really not you, it’s me.”