Child Development & Family Studies Major

Hailey Mencia

Hey y’all, my name is Hailey Mencia. I am a junior at Tarleton State University. I’m originally from Houston, Texas. I am the oldest of three as well as a first gen student.

My major is Child Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Child Life. I am doing a minor in Spanish and in Psychology. After undergrad, I will go to graduate school to pursue a degree in occupational therapy.

My first time on campus was around March 2021, about 2 months before graduation. As soon as I stepped foot on campus, I knew it was home. Everyone was extremely friendly and very welcoming. When I started the college application process, I was very overwhelmed with what I should do and what I should be. Tarleton, however, made that process so easy, they had advisors and counselors I could speak with to answer all my questions. The staff was truly kind, and it really did feel like a family.  

The hardest part of the college process was probably having to pick out what I want to study for the next four years. When I first came into college, I started off as a nursing major and very quickly found out nursing was not for me at all. It was extremely hard for me to admit nursing was just something I wasn’t good at. My second year of college I switched over to my current major I have now, and it has honestly been amazing. I say all this to hopefully ease your worries and concerns, it’s completely okay to be unsure of what you want to do because it’s a huge decision to make. 

Now on to the good stuff, my favorite thing about my major is that I can do so many things with it. For example, I can be a Special Education Teacher, Child Life Specialist, Behavioral Specialist, Social Worker, and many more. The thing I like most about my major is it requires a lot of field experience. Meaning I can do service hours in a childcare facility. I am excited to gain experience in a field that I am deeply passionate about.   

In the child development degree program, you will take a wide range of classes. I’m currently taking Educating Young Children, Infant and Child Development, Psychology of Adjustment, and Child Psychology. These are all classes that are a part of my degree plan. My favorite class now is Psychology of Adjustment because I feel like children go through so many changes in their early childhood that shape them into how they are and learning how to help them adjust to those changes can mean so much to them. I know it did to me when I was younger. 

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Over the summer I had the privilege of interning at a church’s daycare facility where I was the craft teacher. I know, I know, crafts? But it was so much fun, and the children enjoyed it! We did all kinds of things: painting, tie dye, coloring, drawing, etc. I probably had just as much fun as the kids did. Honestly, it was the first time I was sure about changing my major. Before, I was worried I had made the wrong decision. This opportunity is just what I needed!