If you knew me growing up, you know just how much the unknown scared me. I was the person that had a plan for anything and everything and I had a back-up plan just in case any issues would arise. My college plan was no different.
I got accepted to the University of Iowa and committed. I got accepted to the direct admit nursing program and committed. I moved into a Burge with a roommate that I picked out on the “dating site” and everything was going to be perfect. I was going to wear my scrubs around campus while running to clinical at the hospital. I was going to graduate with a nursing degree and travel the world saving people one day at a time. Flash forward to my sophomore year. I am a Communication Studies major with the plan of getting a certificate in Event Planning and a minor in Military Science. In the end that original plan that was color coordinated and written out on paper didn’t quite happen.
College is the first time in my life that I was completely able to be free. It was the first time I didn’t have a set plan for anything. In fact, it was the first time I got to explore a world that wasn’t science-related. Before college, everything I did was to work towards becoming a nurse. Then I moved to Iowa and all of a sudden I was introduced to a new world. I got to write in Rhetoric and create weird pieces of art in printmaking. I began to blog for admissions and found myself writing just for the hell of it. I was doing all of these things that I loved, and what scared me was that none of them happened to be nursing.
After completing my freshman year I went home and spent pretty much my entire summer deliberating on what the next step was. I talked to more people than I could count on my fingers and had more worries than I thought was possible. And then one day I just did it. I clicked that button and relinquished my position in the nursing program. And there I was with an entire new degree, parents who still weren’t 100% sure about what I was doing, and a whole bunch of people trying to tell me as nicely as possible that I was crazy. I changed almost all of my classes with no idea how to read a degree audit and spent the last few weeks of summer thinking of every possible thing that could go wrong.
Then I came to school, I started writing again, and began to attend classes. Instead of learning about the shape of molecules, I was blogging for my creativity class. Instead of dissecting a pig, I was getting to analyze 20th century poems. And then I realized that the scariest decision I had ever made was also the best one. That fear that once filled the pit in my stomach was gone. I was going to class with a huge grin on my face and I was coming home excited to complete homework assignments. I was actually just enjoying myself. People still continued to tell me I was crazy and when I told them what I was doing they gave me some pretty judgmental looks, but it didn’t matter because I was doing what I was supposed to be doing.
You see, my entire life I had been asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I think after a while I had formulated an idea in my mind because it was more accepted than saying “I don’t know”. So when I actually had to make a decision about what I wanted to do with my life, I jumped, not knowing what I was getting myself into. I did what people expected me to do. I did what was “safe.” And once I was in the downward spiral, it was a lot harder to get out. When you have everyone you know telling you that you would be an amazing nurse, and that they couldn’t see you doing anything else, turning around and changing your mind seems a whole lot scarier. I continued to feel that if I made a change to make me happy I would let people down. But then I realized something, college isn’t about being safe. It isn’t about making other people happy or proud of you. It isn’t bragging because you have the hardest undergraduate major. Screw all of it. College is four years of your life that you get to be completely selfish. It’s four years where you get to discover who you are and have no one to do it for but yourself. So now I sit here writing this four weeks into classes and I have absolutely no regrets. I am happy. In fact, I am so much happier than I was last year – and I didn’t even know that was possible.
So I sit here as a sophomore, who really has no plan for life telling you this: don’t be afraid to do something different. Don’t worry about what other people expect you to do. This is not about making others happy, or making more money than all your friends when you graduate. Be selfish, be spontaneous. Find out what makes you happy and then for heaven’s sake just go do it.
Until Next Time, Go Hawks!