I’m packing my bags for a national journalism conference, and I don’t really want to be a journalist anymore.
The irony of that sentence would strike me funny –– hilarious, even –– if it wasn’t my very own cognitive dissonance at hand.
I remember back, oh, probably in late January (yes, only 9 months ago) how I answered an elder’s question about the future –– my future. I spoke with such conviction, assured that I could stray not far from my original goals –– goals that I made when I was 17. He chuckled and shook his head, seemingly laughing at my ignorant youth. I had no idea how right he was –– or how wrong I was –– at the time.
When I stated my hopes and my ambitions there in that interview, I did not lie. I spoke with as much truth as I could muster. I really thought I knew what I wanted, but now I see just how short-sighted I was. As a freshman undergrad, I had only begun to explore the depth of all human knowledge, the opportunities waiting for me just out of reach in high school.
And now, as a sophomore stumbling along in her projected journalism major, I think: How foolish was I to assume I knew it all.
This last month at school has been one of the most trying times of my life. This time, not just my health but my identity has been suspended, as I toe the line of selfishness and sanity, reason and regret.
There is a cliff that I can see
Standing between my future and me
Promising all that I could be
But I don’t know if I believe
Let’s put it this way: I’m going through a fourth grade science rock cycle model. I’m practically turning into metamorphic rock over here, from all these “changing environmental conditions” and “variations in…pressure and mechanical stress.”
I’m being torn and pushed, stretched and pummeled in a thousand different directions –– but there doesn’t seem to be any room for reflection. I feel as if I’ve been sentenced to a box that I’ve outgrown, a future that no longer aligns with my lifestyle.
I’m afraid I’m losing the essence that is myself.
So, I thought I could escape. I considered leaving the journalism school to pursue a degree in anthropology –– a discipline that’s been calling my name since I took an introductory course last fall.
But the transfer process between internal colleges? Unfortunately unforgiving. Only a minuscule amount of the credits I’ve achieved over the past year and half would matter, and the rest would simply vanish from my transcript. Forever and ever, amen.
I’ve learned a lot from where I am, and I’ve changed my mind A LOT in the past year –– obviously, this is why I’m struggling. While I am not satisfied with how I fit in here, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my sampling of all a liberal arts education has to offer.
And maybe I’ll change my mind again (though, quite frankly, I’m sort of sick and tired of always finding new interests).
Perhaps, this soul-searching degree discovery all has a reason. Maybe I needed to be stripped of all I’ve ever known, and question where I am and where I want to go. Maybe I need to take my education in stride –– these ambitions of pursuing cultural anthropology may pan out over several higher education degrees.
Because the answer to my life goals is forever changing, maybe I shouldn’t change WHERE I am at OU, but WHO I am at OU.
And so, I’ll close with a quote from one of the greatest American poets –– and fellow Transcendentalist –– Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
Until next month,
This post also appears on labellamemoir.tumblr.com