On Graduating and Regret

I keep waking up at 3 a.m. each night and having these really big realizations about my life. I’m not sure how sleep-soaked these thoughts may be, but I’d like to think that my brain is figuring everything out for me when I’m not awake, so that when I wake up, it can be like, “Hey, here are answers to everything you’ve been worrying about for the last ten years. You’re gonna be okay, kid.”

In K-12th grade, I wanted to be a writer and an artist when I grew up (among other things like a vet and a dog farmer), so I wrote stories all the time, woke up on Saturday mornings and read the dictionary (to learn about dog breeds but also to learn about words), took art and creative writing classes, and was on the school newspaper. God damnit, I was passionate. I had a goal in my head and I was going to achieve it, so I did everything in my power to try and make that happen- and enjoyed it.

So what happened? Why, in college, did I do everything in my power to avoid doing any real work, which in reality kept me from actually doing anything I loved? I bailed out of a creative writing major after only one creative writing class and two years of college, because I told myself that I couldn’t do anything with it; but ultimately, I know damn well it was because I was telling myself I wasn’t any good at it, so that’s why I wasn’t going to be able to do anything with it. Bull shit: At my birthday parties as a child I would stay up well after my friends were sleeping just so I could write stories with my best friend. I was always writing stories. I was creative, and witty, and passionate.  I was good.

What happened? Why, in college, did I know I wanted to be a writer or an artist, but I switched to a major in Journalism because I “wanted to write but didn’t want technical writing,”– why didn’t I stick to creative writing if that’s what I had spent my whole life doing?

Why, in college, did I avoid picking fine art as a major after I realized I wasn’t going to be a creative writer, and didn’t want to do technical writing or rhetoric? I told myself that in order to be an artist you had to be unique, better than the rest, but I believed I left something to be desired. Bull shit. As a kid and young adult, I taught myself different art mediums at home after school after I’d already used the day to take art classes. There was not a thing in the world I was more stoked about than art.

I think what it was, what it really, really was, was that I didn’t want to Real Life try at something I was passionate about, and not do as well as I’d hoped. I didn’t want to take college creative writing classes just to see that I wasn’t always the best writer, and that growing up, the nights spent staying up late writing my own stories for the pure enjoyment of it was all a waste. I didn’t want that wonderment of my favorite things to burn out because I wasn’t good enough.

But after four years of college, that’s all that happened. I majored in journalism, but I told myself I didn’t want to be a writer but an editor, and I know this was because I didn’t want to try at it and have people thinking behind my back that I didn’t have a natural talent for it. I couldn’t teach myself to be an amazing writer, but I could teach myself to be a copy editor- right?

I spent four years avoiding the only things I love, only to forget how to do them. I didn’t have any time for studies as well as continue honing my abilities as a writer and artist.

If I would’ve taken risks, I would’ve done everything I loved. I would’ve only gotten better at writing and art. I would have produced work in the last four years that I was proud of.

But, I’m graduating college in 11 days, and with this journalism and art minor degree, im determined to dedicate my time to taking risks. I got my degree just for the piece of paper, now I’m going to use it to get to do what I love. I’m going to seek out internships that force me to write, so even if I’m too embarrassed to write, I’ll have no other choice to. I don’t have to worry about doing whatever it is to get me through college– I can worry about honing what I have left of my passions into a career that I love.

 

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