Monday, June 24, 2024

Breaking the Stigma on Shiftees

by Paul Ray Donaire | October 15, 2022

The harsh truth about life is that it can always turn upside down.

Oftentimes, we encounter something that diverts our attention from the goals we initially thought to pursue. Regardless of how people can be decisive and certain in planning about their future, life tends to create different paths for us, leaving us to struggle with which direction we should follow. As we continue to grow up, everything changes drastically and goes beyond our expectations, too.

This has been a common issue, especially for many students. At this early stage of development, they can leap in decision-making from time to time.

In college, “shift” or “shifting” is a popular term referred to as moving from a current program to another program, while a student who shifts is called a “shiftee.” The idea behind shifting is to give students the opportunity to find an academic program that suits them—one that allows them to genuinely enjoy learning and imagine themselves working in actual fields.

In an interview with a Sillimanian who is taking augmentation (bridging) to shift from political science to nursing, he stated that: “I decided to shift because I wasn’t sure of what I wanted in life. I originally wanted to become a lawyer, but somehow along the way, I got confused and a bit distracted, and I was, kind of, entertaining other options because of my mental health. I had bad mental health during the pandemic, so my perspective in life changed from what I really want”. 

The challenges of shifting are hard to swallow. Shifting, in other words, means prolonging a student’s time in college—this in itself is what scares many prospective shiftees. Furthermore, the prejudice against shiftees is among the reasons that causes them to backtrack. “Yes, I was afraid to take a shift because I would be wasting time. If I would shift, I would literally be going back from the start. I would repeat four years again, so it feels like wasted time”, he added. 

This is supported by another shiftee, currently a Sociology IV shifted from Information Technology (IT), who expressed that: “I think the stigma siguro in us shiftee [sic] kay murag nahagbong ni siya sa previous course niya mao na wala kaabot sa cut off or batig batasan kay ni shift naay nakaaway. Pero If I were to debunk it, I think one of the reasons kay they are realigning or redirecting kung asa sila ganahan. Most people I knew na kanang ni-shift kay are the most fulfilled people after.” [“I think the stigmas attached to shitfees are that they failed their previous course and thus, did not meet the cut off, or that they have a bad attitude and caused conflict with someone. But if I were to debunk it, I think one of the reasons is that they are realigning or redirecting their path. Most people I know who have shifted are the most fulfilled people after.”]

The two shiftees, when asked about their academic performance, mentioned that they believed they were attaining better and higher grades than before. This goes to show that shifting, despite the stigmas and challenges attached to it, has its own advantages on the academic performance of students. Instead of judging and stigmatizing shiftees and people who are struggling in their current programs, we must remain supportive and helpful in bringing out the best of them—and one way that we can express that is by breaking the stigma on shiftees.

Shifting is a choice—a hard one—that only those who have the guts are willing to take for the sake of their future. At the end of the day, life is definitely not a race; it is not a competition. As we carve our own “personal timeline,” let us always be reminded of our differences in significant moments as an individual. 

To live life to the fullest is to instill in ourselves the values of pacing; that we have our time to strive, commit, and celebrate the things we do that fulfill us in this life.

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