I came to Ball State as a Magazine Journalism major and then I changed my major to English Education.
In a sense, I went from Joanna Coles to Mr. Feeny.
Some ask, “What happened to your dreams of traveling, of seeing the world?” Well, my dreams still exist. They did not change because I simply changed my education on a piece of paper; however, my ideas of my profession did change. Slowly, I began to realize the world of journalism. The mindless reporting, the rules, rules, rules, and the lack of room for creativity, which began to suffocate me. The importance of only writing what sources said, without giving my own thoughts in the world of news reporting, began to strangle my brain when I tried to think of a life without writing about what I loved – travel, adventure, people, cultures, life experiences, failures, triumphs. I began finding it a struggle to get out of my bed in the morning for a class I was supposed to LOVE.
I did not love it, though. Maybe I never really loved journalism, but this I doubt. Perhaps, maybe, I loved the idea of journalism. Traveling, seeing the world, talking to people in different cultures, experiencing those cultures. I can still do everything I mentioned, but I do not need a degree for it. Whether or not I graduate with a degree in journalism does not change my affinity for adventure and writing. People, there is such a profession as freelance journalism. It DOES exist. I promise.
Now, on to my decision to change my major. As I said, I found it difficult to enjoy attending my journalism classes. I started to think something was wrong with me because journalism was my drive to leave my home and my hometown, and it was the reason I chose to attend Ball State over Indiana University. (Ahem, enter, David Letterman.) After I realized this wasn't true, I stopped making excuses and I changed my path. Taking charge of my own life and not relying on others to make my own rules for my life is one of my better sides. Anyway, I trekked to the career center and I began to pour over books with different professions, and they simply HAD to include writing or English involved in their college educations to even grasp my attention. Different ideas popped into my head, but publishing stood out in my mind.
As I thought about my future in the world of publishing, I loved the idea of possibly reading and editing books for a living, but then I could not picture myself living in a city, walking to work every day, and dressing to the nines every day of my life. Abiding by the rules of authority has never been my strong point so I did not want a job where I had to pretend to be perfect every day, with the chance of spending my early years as The Girl Who Gets the Coffee. Then my quest for a major continued. Eventually, I scheduled a meeting with a career adviser and I told her about my love for English, for writing, and my need to help people in whichever profession I choose to pursue.
After my meltdown and my explanation for my NEED to change my major, I found myself taking a personality test. Personalities always interested me so I thought, Why not? This could be fun. As it turned out, I have the INFJ personality type. This means I am introverted (I), I tend to use my intuition to focus on the big picture rather than the minor details in a problem (N), I focus more on how I feel about certain situations rather than the practicality of the situation or rather than others’ opinions (F), and I like to take control by planning and organizing as much as possible so I don’t fall into the hands of procrastination (J). What are some traits of this personality type? Apparently we are highly creative and artistic, we feel a need to help others, and we are very private.
Basically, if you know anything about me, then you probably assume this personality type was created for me. Hello, other one-percent of the population with this personality type. You are not alone!
Also, with this personality type, INFJs should be artists, librarians, photographers, writers, or . . . teachers. Surprise! I have a point in this madness so stick with me. Basically, after I took the personality quiz and soaked in everything it had to offer, and after I did my own research (“surprise”), the realization of my future hit me as though it was myself running after a breakfast buffet.
I need to teach. It isn’t a want, a desire, or even a will. It is a need.
If you talked to me about a year ago and told me I would become a teacher, I would probably:
2.) Not believe you
3.) Throw up
Trust me; this is not an exaggeration. When I was little, I wanted to be a teacher because I was bossy and I thought I could control everyone. Then I became more reserved, knew far too much about life at an early age, and found writing as an outlet – marking my daily events and keeping track of the monumental moments in my life prevented me from falling astray.
Even through all the countless sports teams, practices, extracurricular activities, and hours at work, I still fell back into writing. When my world became dark and nothing seemed to make sense, I picked up a pen and I wrote. I wrote everything – fictional tales of characters who experienced thrills and adventures, what I had on my mind, who I needed to forget, what I needed to forget, and why I needed to make a difference in others’ lives.
Throughout the writing and the countless hours I spent studying, reading, and working, life seemed lonely at times. I began to find my true friends, but I also experienced some dark times. It wasn’t easy, but I now use those experiences to push through and I dedicate my life to making myself better, as well as the lives of others.
With teaching, I can do this every day.
I can compliment a girl who lives in a broken home on her writing and I can make her smile.
I can schedule a conference with a boy who doesn’t do his work and I can find out about his internal struggles.
I can help children see the world in a different way.
I can show them the silver lining.
I can help children.
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.