life dilemma

I like photography.  Insert extra large “duh” here.

I thought graphic design was the proper avenue to take in order to pursue that passion.

As it turns out, something I knew very early in life, my freshman year of high school, in fact, is proving to be the truth.  A truth I shouldn’t have ignored for the wrong reasons.

That truth was: I am not meant for academia.  It’s not the place for me, and I don’t think it ever was.

When I was a freshman in high school (not to mention all the years leading up to that point as well), the idea of college didn’t seem like a non-possibility.  I mean, I never felt smart enough for it, but regardless, it just didn’t seem like something I would do.  In fact, I was so sure of this, that I didn’t even put any thought into life beyond high school (aside from my long distant dreams to be a stay at home mom someday).  It just wasn’t a thing.  I was living in the present with few thoughts of the future beyond “family.”

I was naive, and didn’t realize that the economic state of our country was on a collision course.  I was between the ages of 15 and 18 and had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  It was too big of a question for my small, immature mind.  And even now, I think it’s unreasonable to expect an 18-year-old to know the answer.

Anyway, high school graduation came and went.  Those four years of school flew by, and in the final two, my teachers and advisors made sure to hammer one thing into our heads: without college, you will never see success in life.

That scared me.  I didn’t want to be unsuccessful.  I knew what wanted it, but let’s face it– dreaming of becoming a wife and mother is not the same as wanting to be a doctor or astronaut.  There was no school or major to guide you down the path to finding a man who wanted the same thing as you, no timeline to follow that would get you to that destination in a predetermined number of years.  No advisor who could direct me to getting married, having kids, and living the American dream.

Everyone wants it.  How many of us really get it?

On the personal end of things, I’ve been very lucky.  I found an incredible guy who is just shy of perfect.  That was something I didn’t expect.  At least, not so early.  I was 22 and knew the night I met him that this was guy I would meet at the end of the aisle one day.

On the professional end, I have never had a problem holding a job, but at the same time, I have yet to find a career.  I am the consummate wanderer, a nomad in life.  I bounce from interest to interest, wasting money and time every step of the way.

Do I think I am crippling my life not having a degree?  No, not really.

Am I afraid of what people might think or how people might look at me if I instead choose to try and make my way up the ladder at Starbucks instead?  Maybe.

Which is odd to me, considering I’ve taken on the quote “what other people think of you is none of your business” as a personal mantra, over the past couple of months.

This was my battle over the last several weeks.  Months, even.

Do I stay in school?  Push my way through classes knowing that graphic design might not be for me after all, thus rendering the degree useless and have stayed in school just for the sake of earning some type of degree?  Or do I pack up, pull out of school, and give all of me to the job that I have come to develop a real passion for?

When I started writing this post like, three weeks ago (bad blogger!), I was very unsure.

By now, however, I have already withdrawn from classes, and have become full-time at Starbucks.  On one hand it feels great.  I feel like I have found a little courage to grab a hold of what is mine:  my life, my choices.  I feel as though I have finally seized  control.  And that, I think, is where all my anxiety was coming from in the first place — I felt like I had no control over my life.  I was basically robotic.  Going from work to school to work to school.  My free time lost in the shuffle.  Anthony, lost in the shuffle.  And that wasn’t fair.  Not fair to him, not fair to me.  Not fair to the vision of my life that I have held close since I was a teenager.  Was it really worth it?  To put it all (including my own sanity) on the line for a measly degree just so that I could say I had one?

I guess, to me, it wasn’t.

Am I still experiencing mild anxiety from withdrawing before the semester ended?  Yes.  I am not a quitter.  It’s not in my personality (unless we’re talking cleaning my room.. in which case, I’m not even a starter, ha).  It was difficult for me to be okay with the fact that money was spent on these classes.  That I started the semester, and didn’t finish.  It feels like there wasn’t closure, it can’t be packed away in a neat little box.  It’s unfinished.  But I’m going to have to be okay with it.  Life doesn’t always fit into neat little boxes.  I’m starting to realize this now.  And in the long run, I feel so much better.  My life feels like it’s a little more my own again.

So my advice?  If something feels right, maybe, just maybe, it is.

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7 thoughts on “life dilemma

  1. Hi Sam! I love this post. I think it’s rather sad that counselors put so much emphasis on getting a college degree. There may have been a time when it was really beneficial to have a college degree but I think that time has passed–unless your dream is to become a doctor or something that requires years of studying. And I do believe the academia isn’t or everyone and that’s 100% ok. I got my college degree because it was personally important to me to do so. It was never a doubt in mind that I wanted one and I never questioned my decision to be in school, even when it was hard and I questioned whether it would be beneficial to me in the future or not. But if I didn’t have a personal desire to get a college degree I don’t know if I would have because I don’t think its necessary. I often think back on my time spent studying and wonder what I’d be doing if I hadn’t. I might be managing a store somewhere, who knows. And those jobs can be incredibly lucrative, even if some people look down on them. You have my support 100% in doing what you think is right for you. It’s hard not to think about what others think of your choices. I’ve had to deal with that as well because I’ve done everything “wrong” since graduating high school. I started college a year and a half late, I didn’t live on campus, I worked just as much as I studied, and even now I live with my parents as I try to position myself to move out to a place where I want to be when I finally do move out. I’ve really struggled with that this year but as my mom reminded me, doing things the way that I felt was best for me even if they aren’t the “normal” way of doing them has worked well for me in the past. And I’m sure that it will work well for you too! It’s just hard to not to think about what other people think, sometimes, no matter how hard you try.

    Whew! That was long! Much longer than I intended it. Sorry about that!! I’m excited to hear more about your adventures at Starbucks!

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    1. Thank you so much for this comment! It’s so nice to hear from others who don’t frown upon not having a college degree. And I agree — whatever route is working for you is the one you should take! More power to you for waiting until the right time to find the right place! I have no intentions of moving out of my parents’ house for at least a good year or two. My boyfriend and I have talked about it, but we are both aware and on the same page about saving money and buying when we can rather than renting now and essentially throwing money away just for the sake of moving out, which neither of us are really itching to do at this time anyway. And you are doing it the normal way. Whatever way is working for you is the normal way! 🙂

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  2. I think you’re doing the right thing – and the fact that you are doing it despite the fact that society would tell you it’s wrong nakes you really brave. I admire you.

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  3. You’re asking yourself some great questions and if I’ve learnt anything from my time blogging, is that people who have chosen to share the anxieties, fears and dreams in this form, have a better chance of realising their hopes. There’s something cathartic about addressing these things. Best of luck. I hope you find your way 🙂

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