I feel bad for my roommate who had to endure no less than five-hundred hours of my venting, bewailing, and groaning last quarter all because I could not make up my mind between initially two then three then very quickly twenty million different combinations of college majors and minors. Sorry, Karlie. Thanks for being patient with me.
Yes, folks, it’s time again for my quarterly experiential disintegration. No need to worry about me–I’m perfectly fine. This has become such a regular occurrence in college that you might even deem it ritualistic. Painfully ritualistic.
It is then with the greatest exuberance that I am announcing the official conclusion of any such occurrences in the foreseeable future. Yes, you read correctly again. I’m done– D-O-N-E–done with stressing over which majors and minors to pursue. I’ve emerged triumphant, if not also a little exhausted, over this mental struggle of two long years. Now, I want to share what I’ve learned during that time with you.
I rolled into college bright-eyed and enthusiastic, ready to push past the same horizon I’d been staring at for the past seventeen years and blaze a new trail for myself in the real world as a semi-independent, almost-adult.
In the beginning, I was too preoccupied with meeting people and figuring out social circles to really contemplate the purpose behind why I was at college studying what I was studying.
Beyond being distracted, I simply didn’t care to allocate any brain power to the topic. Most people when beginning a new endeavor tend to plan things out, some more meticulously and some less. Me? I tend to barrel headfirst into challenges without a wisp of a plan in mind. I like life served with a heavy dash of zest and a sprinkle of unpredictability. How do you like yours served?
It wasn’t until mid-winter quarter that the pressure of what the heck am I doing and what am I going to do escalated beyond a mild prick in the back of my mind. Cue the beginning of my major evaluation.
I’d entered with communications as my major simply because that’s what I chose when applying for Davis. Why I picked communications for Davis and English/Creative Writing for just about ninety percent of the other colleges I’d applied to is a serious mystery to me. Stick around and you’ll see just how often I tend to surprise myself.
Very quickly into college, I identified the educational and professional advantages of complementing communications with a sensible second major. Since communications is such a versatile and widely-applicable study, I wanted one with a more narrowed focus.
There were a few disciplines I’d eliminated right off the bat. Anything involving physics, chemistry, biology, and a profane amount of math received immediate strikes. Anything that belonged purely to the humanities–this included English–were also batted off the list (I’ll explain why later).
I eventually opted for political science primarily based on my enjoyment of my international relations class and model United Nations in high school, a club where we participated in simulations of UN conferences. It was fun, challenging, and always amusing to watch high school students pummel their fists into the air while ejaculating spittle to a record thirty feet over nuclear proliferation. Plus, I wanted to do something impactful with my education and for the rest of my life. With political science, I can head into policymaking and make a positive impact over prominent global issues such as climate change, human trafficking, and international security that I did truly care about to an extent. Oh, what a romantic I can be sometimes.
Hence began my digression into political science classes against that dull yet incessant tug in my stomach that urged me otherwise. Once more, I surprise myself. I knew from the moment I chose that second major that I would not be happy with it. I knew because a mere two weeks later I was up late at night again researching other potential majors. Then again two months later.
On and on this habit persisted, typically striking most intensely in the middle of my quarters when my naive hope for repose would have flowered to its prime. I would settle into a sense of security, my doubts would strike, I would wither into a helpless heap of worries, the venom would ease, I would push through my political science classes with gritted teeth, then hit repeat for next quarter.
Told you it’s painfully ritualistic.
This followed me even into the depth of my sophomore year.
This winter quarter has been my most anxious one yet in terms of choosing majors. I’d joked in my opening line that I’d spun between a total of twenty million different combinations of majors and minors. Well, if I’m to be honest, it’s not the number of options that befuddled my decision-making but rather the number of times I’d jump from one option to another only to crawl back to the initial.
Here’s a complete list of all that I’d been debating between.
The pagan philosopher says “know thyself”. Here, it really appears as if my problem stems from want of self-knowledge. What do I want to do?? Why was I all of a sudden super into tech management?? What the heck even is that minor?? Didn’t I already cross sociology off ages ago??
But my problem wasn’t that I didn’t “know myself”. In fact, I’d argue part of my problem was that I knew myself a little too well; resultingly, I had the choice of running away from who I am. So I did.
Here, we approach the heart of my problem.
Even as a child, I’d dreamed of being an author, of drawing people and their stories from the well of my imagination and pouring them out for the world to drink. As time tread on, my conviction in myself as a writer solidified as I made my acquaintance with author after author, story after story. This was so until I stepped into college for the first time as that bright-eyed and enthusiastic seventeen year old ready to break horizons.
Looking back, I didn’t realize how susceptible to environmental influences I was. In a college like Davis, where the majority of majors reside in STEM and social science fields, I felt like a black sheep for favoring creative writing. Never before in my life had I given such studious consideration to what my peers studied and pursued. All of a sudden, creative writing seemed childish and silly like a crayon drawing on a “what do you want to be when you grow up” worksheet from first grade.
If I study English, would I be able to stamp any useful skills on my resume for internships? After all it must be stigmatic for a reason. If I can’t gain real world experience during college, then so long to getting hired out of college. I’ll probably have to go back to school for a grad degree in accounting or something of that sort (shudder) and end up stuck in some job that’ll be tolerable but not one where I can truly bloom. (Ah, here’s the romantic in me again.)
What–or more appropriately, who made me finally come to terms with the truth of the situation was God. The epiphany gradually dawned on me one night as I fumbled to answer my roommate’s question, “Why do you want to study English so badly?”
In the past, I’d never considered why I love writing, why the mere the sight of letters–those peculiar and arbitrary yet powerful symbols through which souls and civilizations alike are remembered–flashing across a blank page would set my heart ablaze. I’d always framed it as nothing more than an enduring hobby.
In that moment, when I tried to answer my roommate’s question, it finally hit me why I love writing with such a passion: it’s because God designed me this way.
God made each human unique in their own way, fixed with their own unmatchable set of traits, gifts, intelligence, enjoyments, and personality. He formed some of my friends with admirable mathematical aptitude, some other friends with a heart for environmental preservation, some others with musical ingenuity to rival those of the muses, and still others with the brightest, most infectious joy.
He formed me with an appetite for stories and an even greater inclination to produce them. He may not have given me an ardor for computer science or managing data figures or memorizing impossible formulas, but He did give me imagination, intelligence, creativity, love for storytelling, and (I’m saying this humbly) writing skills.
I believe God has gifted me with these for a reason, and to neglect such gifts, especially writing, is a shame. If He did not design my mind and my personality this way, I would be perfectly content studying something that should smoothly propel me into financial stability and a comfortable lifestyle, but He did design me as I am. I want to stop with the pretense that He did not. Isn’t it impudent of me to shove what He has so graciously given me back into His face simply because I don’t think they’re as economically valuable?
If I keep studying things that are not where my true potential lies—like political science, international relations, economics— I know I will severely regret my decisions in college in the future.
Don’t get me wrong, these are incredibly interesting and useful disciplines by their own right. They just don’t teach me to hone the particular skills that I so wish to master.
Additionally, I know I have more to contribute to society as someone who studied english and communications rather than as someone who studied neurobiology, economics, or aerospace engineering for one simple reason: I’d really, really, really suck at those sort of things. I think I’ve enumerated enough reasons previously for you to know why.
Something else before I close off–God gave me these gifts to steward. I want to use writing and storytelling to bless others and to glorify Him. Just thinking about all the possibilities a pen, a few sheafs of paper, and a boatload of gusto offers makes me giddy from head to toe.
I don’t know yet how to specifically use this craft to serve Him, but I’m praying He will show me a way. I don’t even know when I’ll finally be able to transform that silly “what do you want to be when you grow up” crayon drawing of a published author into reality. Maybe I will end up stuck in some barely tolerable job right after college, but even then, I’ll know to never again deny the way God designed me. Thank you, Father for you consistent guidance.
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