Behrens strikes balance between personal interests, career goals

· 2 min read

Behrens strikes balance between personal interests, career goals

For Behrens, her English coursework helps offset the stress of her science coursework.
Matthew Strasburger | University Communication and Marketing
For Saylor Behrens, her English coursework helps offset the stress of her science coursework.

Coming into college, Saylor Behrens didn’t want to abandon her personal passions while chasing her professional goals. As a pre-optometry student majoring in English, she’s creating a balance that, she said, is helping her have a well-rounded college experience that keeps her motivated and engaged.

“Traditionally, pre-optometry students will major in biology. I decided to switch things up and honor my love for literature by majoring in English,” she said. “To this day, it was the greatest gift I’ve given myself.”

After a formative experience shadowing an optometrist in high school, Behrens set her sights on becoming an optometrist herself. Admittedly not a math person, Behrens believes that buoying her science prerequisites with English courses has prevented her from experiencing burnout.

“Going into college, I saw myself getting burnt-out by only taking science and math classes,” she said. “And while the science and math classes that I do have to take have only gotten harder, my English coursework never really feels like homework because it’s something I truly love to do.”

Letting herself stretch her strengths across multiple disciplines has also given Behrens a healthier perspective on the subjects that don’t come quite as naturally.

“I’ve had a lot of angst around math, but over time I’ve come to realize that I don’t have to love it to be able to do it well. The whole thing has been sort of an experimental process,” she said.

Currently working in two different optometry clinics and quickly gaining real-world experience, Behrens is finding that her English major is preparing her for her future career as an optometrist in important ways that she’d previously never considered.

“You need to have good social and communication skills when you’re a doctor, and I do feel like my English major has paid off a lot in working with patients and helping them communicate their symptoms,” she said.

Behrens encourages other students who might feel boxed into only studying one thing to explore ways they can broaden their academic horizons.

“I’ve always been a very black-and-white, all-or-nothing person, but the older I’ve gotten I’ve come to realize the importance of balance,” she said.

Recent News