Dordt junior sets example for students with late major change and early graduation

Taylor Rus— Guest Writer

University expectations and “unspoken rules” shattered as Dordt University student Kacy Haynes switched her major during the second semester of her junior year and now plans to graduate a year early. 

Haynes started off as a nursing major at Pima Community College in Tuscan, Arizona. She had known she wanted to be a nurse since she was 14.  She chose Pima so that she could stay close to home to make the transition from high school to college easier. Haynes enjoyed her studies but was missing the personal side of nursing. 

“I think the gifts I have been equipped with are the ability, want, and need to care for others,” Haynes said. “What better way to do that than through nursing?” 

Haynes never felt intertwined with the community at Pima. Her peers were interested in different things such as partying and drugs. 

“It lacked the feel of a Christian environment,” Haynes said. “I felt like I was missing a huge part of the college experience.” 

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After a year at Pima, she decided it was time for a change. Haynes applied to a variety of nursing schools and hoped to also participate in track. She came across Dordt University and decided to apply.

“I knew very little about Dordt University, and even less about Iowa, but I decided to take a leap of faith,” Haynes said.

Beginning her second year of college more than 1,000 miles away from home, Haynes did her best to leave her worries behind. She came into Dordt knowing only a handful of people and was determined to find friends to help guide her through her college experience. Just as she had hoped, Haynes continued her nursing education at Dordt and became a part of the track and field team. 

“I had never felt so busy,” Haynes said.

Her typical day consisted of classes from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm, 90-minute track practice, then homework for the remainder of the night. 

“I felt my mental health slipping,” Haynes said. “I wanted to take care of myself, but I was so busy.” 

Haynes remained in the nursing program for three semesters before deciding over Christmas break of 2020 to drop out and pursue a new career.

“I wanted to take hold of my life again, and I knew this decision would help me do that,” Haynes said.

She decided to graduate early to help ease her homesickness. It also would enable her to be with her fiancé, whom Haynes has been in a long-distance relationship with for the entirety of her college career. Her fiancé, Aaron, is in the Naval Academy in Maryland and is working to receive a cybersecurity major. He anticipates graduating this spring as well. 

“I am excited to be with Aaron and come home to my future husband,” Haynes said.

 Haynes hopes to pick nursing back up somewhere else after she graduates. 

“I love Dordt. The people, teachers, and community have helped me so much,” Haynes said. “I just think I need to pursue this career somewhere else.” 

Haynes found peace in the unknown. She is not sure what her future holds, but she finds comfort in the fact that it is in God’s hands. Her hope is that it would be normalized that students change majors and go through periods of not knowing what to do.

“I think my story can help other people that are struggling to find a college major,” Haynes said. “Try something. If you fail, then try again or try something else. Life is too short not to strive to be the best person you can be and use the talents God has given you.”

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