I wanted to be an English major. This decision was one of the few things I was certain of as college loomed closer and closer. My parents had never been to college, so they could not tell me what to expect.
I did not know what classes would be like, or if I would be able to handle the workload, if I would be able to handle a part-time job, or if I would be able to make friends. The only thing I felt comfortable knowing was that I was going to major in English, because writing was what I was good at.
Two years later, I realize that I was certain of nothing at all.English wasn’t for me
Writing was still my strength, but English was not. My freshman year, I took a class entitled, “The Gothic,” and the number of novels assigned for that class proved to be more than I felt I could comfortably handle.
Given that balancing one English class with my other classes was difficult, I did not want to imagine balancing two. Thus, I decided very early on in my college career that my intended major was not for me. I am thankful that I decided this sooner, rather than later.
Despite this change of plans, I never shied away from writing. Even as I was digesting novel after novel, I was upping the number of hours I put into the campus newspaper.
I wanted to give the journalist thing a chance, and as my high school did not have a paper legitimate enough to leave me with glowing newspaper credentials, I figured I would prove my competence with sheer effort and diligence.
It worked. While I did not find a home in the English department, I found my writing was well accepted by the newspaper.Exploring other interests
The only reason I am not more involved with the newspaper than I am now is because I chose to take time to explore other interests. I figure I cannot go wrong as long as I stand by my interests and my strengths.
Why is that the case? Well, here is how my experience is going.
To be honest with you, I cut back the number of hours I dedicated to the newspaper because I needed money, and the newspaper was a non-paying, 20-plus hour a week commitment.
While I still continue to write for the newspaper if needed, I have moved on to find two completely unrelated jobs on campus.
First, I became an audio/video technician. I lacked a background in the field, but the job has turned out to be a great experience for me as I’ve learned how to deal with both people and equipment.
My second job is one I would have never even have imagined, but I now serve as a figure model for art students as they learn how to draw the human face and frame.
I would have never thought myself able to sit still for hours in front of an entire room of people as they meticulously take in every detail of my body, but it has been a serious confidence boost in more ways than one.
Both jobs have benefited me in very different ways, but neither are directly related to my biggest strength -- writing. On the other hand, they are both interests of mine, and there is hardly a time when I regret or dread the work I am doing.
Sometimes, the best things come not after preparation or previous experience, but after a full, heart-driven plunge. Even the decision to move off-campus was not one that crossed my mind as a high school student, but I am so glad I did.
As you move out of the rigid world of high school, allow yourself to fully embrace the clay world of college. Mold it into whatever you want it to be.