Coming close to graduating college should be exciting. It should provoke feelings of accomplishment, pride and excitement as you are almost stepping into the “real world” and becoming a “real person.”
For most, this is the case. For some, they are the most terrifying moments of your life (thus far). It means that you have to now decide where you want to work, who you want to be, which internships are best, what an internship even means, etc. These are all very frightening thoughts. Especially for someone who is stuck at a place where chasing a dream feels almost as mystical and unreal as a night dream itself.
For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of becoming a writer. Not just a writer; a novelist. I want to travel the world on books tours, write dedication pages, sign autographs at book signings and maybe even one day have one of my books turned into a movie, since that seems to be the pattern these days. The hard part is, there is no academic major, internship or specific position to apply for that paves this path. Therefore, someone like me gets lost in the mix of what is expected of college students as graduation day nears.
The best advice I was ever given was to seek advice from those who have something to teach. So I’ve done that. Most of the people that I have sought after for advice have attempted to bump me into the reality of the fact that becoming a novelist, and a famous one at that, is highly unlikely. “It’s okay to have a dream,” they say, “but what else do you want to do?” Or I get, “What exactly to you want to do?” … “Do any of these internships (businesses) appeal to you?”… “But in the meantime, what do you see yourself doing?”
I don’t know how to answer these questions. I have found this past year to be so hard because I am constantly trying to find that “something else.” Nothing is working and I am trying new things all the time with no avail and am left feeling like a failure because I cannot find a passion beyond writing that will “suit me in the real world.”
Today, with a professor I will keep nameless, I was given the right piece of advice. He said things along the lines of how college is meant to create some opportunities for you to learn about what you love and what you don’t. It is a time to learn and expand, not just hone a skill and get a job. He allowed me to feel as though I wasn’t alone in feeling like I was lost in this world as an English major – we aren’t really supposed to fit in with the run of the mill of society where you have a plan and a path and it works and you know what you are going to be doing. An accounting major is going to be an accountant. English major will figure it out someday. Although the words were comforting, there is still some lasting hesitation. What if I don’t figure it out? Or what if I have figured out what I want to do, but it is deemed impossible?
So, I will conclude with this advice; do what you want. Seriously. You can choose to listen to those voices that tell you that your dream is unrealistic, impossible or that it won’t happen for a long time and to find something to get you by until then, or you can choose to just do it right now. Believe in yourself enough to make your dream something you are doing right now. You have to start somewhere. Again, thanks to the professor, I learned today that Steven Spielberg crafted his first film at the age of 15. He wanted to be a filmmaker and so instead of waiting around and looking for the opportunities, internships or jobs, he just made films. It seems so simple. If you want to be a writer, then write. If you want to be a painter, then paint. If J.K. Rolling had listened to people tell her that her dream of being a writer was impossible, we wouldn’t have met Harry. If Nicholas Sparks hadn’t just sat down and wrote then we wouldn’t all be in love with Noah and Allie. I mean, if they can do it, why can’t we?
I am sure that I will continue to feel lost in this journey as I figure out how to become my dream person. It will still be scary. I will be confused. I will feel defeated. Ahh… this scary thing called adulthood. But if I didn’t have all of these experiences to go through, then what the hell would I write about anyways?
Share with me, twenty-somethings, about where you are in your journey.