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Dec. 30, 2015

Clara Lepard: All of Me

Dec. 16, 2015

Clara Lepard is a junior majoring in zoology and a College of Natural Science Dean’s Research Scholar.

I have a lot of interests. When I arrived at Michigan State, I was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in zoology, a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in theatre. I felt the only way for me to pursue my all my interests was by taking classes in them. I was passionate about science, people and art, and determined to fully pursue those interests by getting degrees that reflected them all!

After a few semesters of juggling such an eclectic schedule, I realized my goals might not be as realistic as I had hoped. With a heavy heart, I went to my advisor and let go of my second degree and minor so I could better focus on those classes I still felt the most passion for. At the time, it felt like a huge defeat. I felt that now, surely, I would be confined to only those interests related to my major – No longer would I have the chance to create art, or delve into human emotion and reasoning like I could have before. I felt trapped.

I could not have been more wrong. In fact, I quickly began to see the opposite – freed from my heavy course load, I found I had the time and energy to explore my passions more than ever. I joined a statewide student activist group and educated myself on grassroots movements for social justice. I became more involved in undergraduate research and my project even won first place at the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum! Last summer I helped design the set of a professional play and then sold my very first paintings.

During my time at MSU, I’ve come to realize that within every major there is potential for diversity and a wide range of interests. The classes you take and the assignments you complete do not dictate what you will do every day of your life. Declaring a major shouldn’t feel like a surrender – it’s just a different path to take you where you want to go. Similarly, you can never limit your impression of someone based on their major – humans are complex and we all don’t fit in one mold.

I love zoology. It is my passion – but not my only one. I am not bound to one field, or one hobby, because of the path I’ve chosen. None of us are! I know I can be all of me, regardless of what’s on my degree.