It is common for college students to change their major at least once or twice during their college career. Some change because their classes were too difficult, some change because they found a better fit, but Courtney Cantrell’s reason for changing is rather unique.
The Texas native recalls how she was always enrolled in some sort of Spanish class growing up. Cantrell was fluent by the time she enrolled at Auburn. She planned to major in international business and minor in Spanish. With this degree, she would have the opportunity to apply for an internship in Spain with Stryker, a medical company her father works with closely.
In early January of 2010, Cantrell’s plans came to an abrupt halt.
“I had a stroke. I took a year off from school to figure out the different ways the stroke affected me. I was unable to continue with my international business major and Spanish, because I was no longer able to speak Spanish,” said Cantrell.
The stroke was not only scary for Cantrell and her family, but it was also life-altering. Reading and retaining information, something that came easily to Cantrell prior to the stroke, became more difficult for her. She was forced to discover her new limits in relation to daily activities and school. Cantrell expected to graduate and be working by now, but her accident put her on an entirely new track.
“I was obligated to change my major since I no longer remembered any Spanish. My doctors told me I used to be a more left-brained thinker, but now I am more right-brained. After my stroke, numbers and problems have become a lot easier and enjoyable than they were before,” said Cantrell.
Cantrell is currently taking math-oriented classes, which she enjoys. She also enjoys her vegetable production class she signed up for just for fun. After considering her options and consulting with her parents, she decided to major in finance and minor in accounting.
“Because of my stroke, I am not planning on applying for an internship in Spain, but hopefully I will be able to find an interesting one in finance where English is the first language,” said Cantrell.
Cantrell remains positive about her future plans, even though they were not her plans initially.
“My goal now is to graduate, get an internship and hopefully end up working with my dad’s company BESPA,” said Cantrell.
Cantrell believes it is both beneficial and necessary that she gains experience working for both companies before she potentially takes over her father’s.
“I have always found his job very interesting and the people that he works with are extremely nice and caring. Their job is beneficial to the world, so in a way, it feels like I could be making a small impact,” said Cantrell.