Two Month Journal: Semester of self-discovery

Has it really only been two months? That’s my first thought as I sit down to write this installment.

How are we already on Week 9? That’s my second thought.

Time moves in strange ways when you’re in college. The weeks are crammed with classes, work schedules, meetings, deadlines, more meetings – then it’s the weekend, and you’re catching up on all the assignments that slipped through the cracks. And then the inevitable repeat.

I could be jealous of all my friends on “fall break” right now (we get no such thing here at OU, just “Reading Day” in the early hours of October), but I’m really not. I’m going to blink, and it’ll be the end of Week 10. Blink again, and Thanksgiving break will be over, and I’ll be heading back to take care of some finals. Blink some more, and snow will be on the ground (*sarcastic yay*).

I don’t want to wish away any more of my time here in Athens. I finally feel like I’ve planted my feet (somewhat) firmly on the ground, and we’re already halfway done with the semester. But what about all the friends I’m making? The funny, inside jokes in class with professors? The struggles and beauties of walking to school in the fall? That’s life, I muse. Live in the moment, or it’ll surely pass you by. 

We left off last month with me jetting off to the Excellence in Journalism SPJ conference, and me still not quite feeling like a journalist. I came back, reflected on my time in Orlando, and rode the high of journalism, once again. But that feeling of invincibility didn’t linger around for too long.

This “semester of self-discovery,” as I’m dubbing it, may seem more like the semester of deforestation, in terms of my involvement. I’m selfishly slashing time commitments left and right – and learning not to call them “selfish.”

I made a list of some 11 things I’ve “failed” at since my freshman year. Failed, meaning: it just didn’t work out; I bailed; I didn’t get accepted; it wasn’t what I thought it was; etc.

That’s kind of A LOT of dropped balls – at least from someone who took dance classes for 14 years and prefers long-term commitments. But it’s comforting to realize I’m giving myself the FREEDOM to explore all of my options, like a never-ending à la carte feast of opportunity (reminds me a little of Shively Dining Hall).

College is like an incubator of ideas. You never know what you’re going to stumble upon next, so be like me and keep you options open.

As I finish out the month of October, I’m trying to break out of this journalism-but-not-a-journalist box that I’ve found myself in. On the one hand, I could see myself finishing out my four-year degree in journalism, dabbling in a couple of minors and certificates, and that be the end of that. But what if I didn’t have to sacrifice my creativity or my independence? What if I didn’t have to choose –what if I got to combine?

I wrote this sometime at the end of September

With each passing day, I am more at peace, learning NOT to define myself by my major; I am defining my future as I go. Who says I need to be just one kind of person? Why can’t I be an essayist, a poet, a women’s activist, an environmental advocate, a wanderlust traveler, and someone who loves telling stories? Why do I have to sacrifice a part of my soul for the sake of security and predictability?

…and it still holds true today.

I don’t believe in sacrifice for consistency, for complacency, or for convenience. I’ve never been one to step in line, calmly keep her head down. I, like Tris Prior, am divergent

And so I’m going to keep carving my own path in this blind and uncertain future ahead of me – ahead of all of us. I’m going to explore the potential (and the unconventional) option of a Bachelor of Specialized Studies, combining my passions for academia, communications, and promoting environmental consciousness in communities around the world – in my own predetermined, self-selected coursework. I’m going to keep being ME – and eliminating all of the stresses and disguises preventing me from achieving my enlightened potential.

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” –Buddha

I think Buddha would be proud of me.

Until next month,

BNB, xo

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