We all change our minds–in life, in work, in relationships, in passions. More specifically, though, the facet of mind-changing in which we find the most fear is when we realize we may be pursuing the wrong career path or major in college. It does not happen all at once–it does not feel as though currents are pushing you deeper into an ocean. Although, it may seem this way toward the finalization of your declaration to change your major, it happens slower than we believe.
When we enter college, we proudly make everyone aware of what our chosen majors and minors are. We continue our introductory statements with how we have had dreams and aspirations of pursuing this field ever since we realized we could form our own opinions and set our own standards. It happened to me. From the time I entered my first journalism course as a sophomore in high school and until I sat in my journalism lectures in college, I believed I would become a soul-searching, heart-wrenching reporter who would never fear venturing toward assignments overseas or communicating with leaders I did not respect. What happened? A mind can change when you spend the majority of your time covering local news and athletic events.
I realized I did not love it enough to undergo the boring and monotonous work needed in order to move on to greater storytelling. Frankly, I was not even a good writer in these fields either, simply because I did not care. What I did realize, though, was I held tight to organization, I wanted to share my opinions, and I needed to help people. Two years later: I am pursuing an English Studies degree with a minor in Creative Writing and a strong will to attend law school after graduation. I figured, I might as well chisel and sharpen the skills I enjoy honing while I pay for my undergraduate education rather than hate myself and perform poorly in classes for a career in something I do not even wish to pursue (a.k.a Journalism).
My point? It almost seems as though it is those students who have had their minds set for years about their majors who change their career paths. Sometimes we narrow our visions too much, and this results in us trying to sooth our worried minds because we are blind to everything else the world has to offer. We do not realize our preferences for writing can be used in law, or our love for science can be used in medicine rather than research.
Now, this does not mean it is wise to simply start college by taking all core classes. Not only are most of them awful, but they also may not even open your eyes to your passions or talents. Do you have an indication about a career you might like to pursue? Find a suitable major, and take one or two courses. Emerging yourself into an experience is the quickest way to find out whether or not you like it. Another relieving anecdote: Majors are not final. They do not label you for the rest of your lives, and you are not tied to these specific areas. Minds evolve. Situations change. Talents surface. Jobs open. Nothing is permanent. Everyone can start over.
Most of us hope to experience a great love to last the rest of our lives, but none of us really know if we will find it. We might think we have it, only to find out how fragile it falls alongside the not-quite-finished school project still warm with glue, or maybe it falls between our fingers with a donut’s powder. Our moment to find it might be sparse, a moment falling too short of a Popsicle’s lifespan. Have we found it? We may not know. We might not realize it until the glue hardens, the powder stops falling, and Popsicle is long gone. It may be standing in front, behind, or beside us, holding out its hand and eager to continue this eternal flame.
I thought I found you. Maybe it was the summer air and the way the warmth seemed to soften rough edges of even the most rigid situations, but I thought I felt it. Then, when summer disappeared, I realized you did not.
We started the fire with a single match, a single moment, a single breath. It burned hot–almost scalding. Once we realized we could stand before it without receiving a burn, though, we danced. We danced around it while our hands intertwined with laughter–sometimes used to hide the truth–rising higher than the smoke climbing toward the stars–evidence of lives much greater than ours.
One question remained: When would the flames cease?
Would this happiness cease with it?
Was this even happiness?
Once the flames died and the smoke clothed us in its suffocating warmth, we used our tools to poke and prod the dying remnants of past happiness. Eventually, we unearthed the flames and we welcomed them while they emitted their magic, their comfort, and their desire to wrap around us until our last breaths. We thought we could fix everything. In reality, we were trying to fit the piece of a puzzle in the wrong scene.
We found ourselves overwhelmed by the all-consuming smoke while it buried itself deep within our throats and attached itself to the walls of our lungs. Discomfort turned into coughing, followed closely by goodbyes.
Even though this suffocation postponed my normal breathing patterns for a while, and I was the only one affected by the smoke while you wore a mask, it seems as though I came out stronger than you did. I learned what it felt like to be ignored, hindered, and unappreciated.
When I stumbled upon actual happiness–insecurity no longer finds its role in my present–it was at first difficult to comprehend. Was it too good to be true? It wasn’t, though. It still isn’t. It’s everything I wanted without the melodrama of suffocation and constant hidden imagery and symbolism so often drawn in with your presence.
While I had to bury myself within the smoke in order to find you, I now live without the smoldering ashes, without the suffocation, and without the pain of feeling burdensome and lackluster.
I feel appreciated, and that is all I have ever wanted.
The Girl You Never Appreciated
We notice the way a moment affects us–maybe positive or maybe negative. Either way, nobody can deny the way it transforms our limbs and the way it increases the warmth in our eyes. Sometimes the heat becomes white: Eyes curl with the bend of our smiles and our cheeks redden from the sudden emotion flooding through our faces. Our happiness reaches levels too high for our mouths to even contain the ecstasy. Other times, though, a rock resides in our stomachs and our appetites soon fade. We suddenly feel as though we can destroy everything around us just like the picture seemed to destroy us.
Suddenly, though, you realize you are unaffected by the latter. What used to make the wax from a candle melt down to the floor and an unsinkable ship find its way to the bottom of the ocean no longer affects you. Joy now resides in the curl of your smile and the spaces between your fingers. You have found someone better. Life is better. You are better.
I cannot tell you how many times I have been told to do these three commands. After hours of studying, then not doing well on exams and stressing myself out beyond compare to my other peers, it seems as though fixing myself is the only solution others can give me. Well, what happens when you are the person who is always busy?
1. You do not know how to easily calm down. It seems as though you simply have to let yourself run your own course until you can finally sit down and breathe for two seconds. You need to be honest with yourself and let yourself be angry, otherwise it will stay built within you and you will explode about the same problem two days later.
2. You do not understand those people who can simply do nothing all the time. You are always on the go, meeting new people, finishing papers, working, going to classes, and attending meetings. How do those “do nothing” people ever get anything done?
3. You always plan. It does not matter if your project in class or your presentation at work is due two months from now. You always have to know what needs done and when it needs done. If someone wants to do something later, you need to know whether or not that person is going to flake on you because you have other priorities, too.
4. You do not have time for people who complain. This does not mean you have never complained about a situation before, but you have a proactive mentality. If something does not go your way, then you do everything you can to make sure it happens correctly the next time.
5. You like to stay busy. People have probably told you to beware of burning out, but you nonchalantly brush off their comments. While some people like taking frequent naps, you get a thrill out of mentally crossing off assignments or tasks. It shows how productive you really are. You stay busy because you like to stay busy.
6. Even though you like to stay busy, you still enjoy your downtime. Enjoying your downtime means you know you checked off your priorities, and now you can dedicate your entire self to simply relaxing. You can read, watch your favorite movie, catch up on your favorite show, drink a glass of wine, or run around the park. You were productive, and now you deserve to do anything you want.
7. You like to be self-sufficient. You enjoy knowing you can pay for your own food and your own bills because you feel as though you are finally entering a world in which you can call yourself independent. When you see people who solely rely on their significant others for food or clothes, you pity them because they will never understand how to be self-sufficient. Sure, you may not be able to fix your car or fix an electrical problem in your house, but you learn how to approach all situations. Now, it is all about perfecting your approach.
7. At some point, someone probably called you a bitch. You know your worth, and it exhausts you when people say your demands are too high or you have too many expectations. If you ask a lot of questions, then you probably do so because you like to be aware of what is going on in your life. All you can do is respond with the famous Tina Fey quote: “You know what? Bitches get stuff done.”
Lauren is a Ball State University alumna with a Bachelor's degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. She enjoys breakfast for dinner with a side of literary enjoyment.