During my second year of college, I went through a mental slump. I was pursuing a BA in Elementary Education, doing my volunteer hours for my scholarship at the local elementary school, and on the fast track to graduating in three years. The only problem was I was not happy. Every day that I went to the elementary school, I dreaded it. I felt awkward and self-conscious and increasingly aware that this thing I thought I could force myself to do was becoming far too painful.
Then I took a class that really made me realize THIS IS NOT FOR ME. At the time, the professor for that class drove me up the wall and I’m sure he could tell I was feeling vaguely apathetic the closer to the end of the semester we got. Now, I wish I could go up and give that man a hug for making me realize I would have been a terrible teacher. Not because I don’t like kids, but I just don’t have the right mindset for it.
I was, unfortunately, one of those smug little snots who thought she would be among the few to not change majors once while in college. In my defense, I only changed once. It’s funny to note too, this is about the time that I started watching Sex and the City a lot.
I’d always wanted to be a writer. But there was always a voice somewhere telling me I needed a backup plan, a practical job to pursue. At one time in high school, I even considered becoming a police officer, a career path that is hard for me to contemplate myself following now.
Back to the second year mental slump. I spent a lot of time that semester sitting on the second floor of the science building, writing in my journal and wondering what the hell was wrong with me. Then I thought about changing majors, an idea which terrified me at the time. But the idea continued to gain traction until I asked my parents about it over Thanksgiving break. They were less than enthused, but they didn’t outright tell me no, so when we got back, I put the paperwork in motion. I got a fantastic adviser in the English department who also worked with me on my senior seminar. She was so wonderful to me and I’m grateful for everything she did.
Once I changed majors, my entire world shifted. I started volunteering at the local library. I was inducted to the English Honors Society. I started listening to Carrie more often and writing just for fun. I posted a lot to Writer’s Cafe during those days. It was like a new universe had just opened up to me, and it was all because I finally decided to pursue writing.
Fast forward to post-graduation and the present. I’m once again at a crossroads. Writing or a practical career? Oh, it is not so simple, I’m afraid. I’m beginning to keep my ear to the ground for any/all job opportunities with local publications, and there is at least one I feel mildly hopeful about. It wouldn’t be writing, but it could be a stepping stone to something wonderful.
But what about writing?
You know what, I think my response to certain things gives me the answer I’m seeking. I need to stop worrying about what others expect of my writing and just do it for me. I am so tired of all the “How to” posts and articles I see in the writing community about marketing, release parties, and about one thousand other things. I want to just focus on writing for me, writing for fun, and writing for the story itself. If I can sneak my way into the publishing industry via a newspaper or magazine, even if I’m just the fact checker, then my degree in English wasn’t a waste. If I can just write a story I love and that I’m proud of, it doesn’t matter if no one ever sees it. The point is that I wrote it, that it is on paper somewhere.
I’m going to be doing some rearranging, so someday I can be as at peace as Carrie seems to be every time they show her writing on her laptop on Sex and the City, with words all around me.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, Kelswitch over and out.