I mentioned in last week’s Monday Musing that one of these days I was going to sit down and make a list of all the majors I’ve had since I started college (more than a decade ago) and why I decided to change them (aside from the obvious explanation: I am terrified of success and/or failure). Well, witches, today is that day.
Now, way back in the day, before college was even a thing I realized I would have to deal with, I wanted to be a writer. From the age of nine until about twenty-two, I wrote constantly. Most of it never saw the light of day, but it was always the dream. But, thanks to all the “helpful advice” from people who didn’t want me to be a “starving artist,” I nixed the idea of a degree in Creative Writing (and English in general) pretty early on in my teens in favor of something that would get me a “real job” to support me while I tried to make it as a writer. Anyone who writes probably realizes how obnoxious that is, because let me tell you: Writing damn sure is a real job. Harder work than any other job I’ve ever had, that’s for damn sure.
But, with that mindset in place, I began my college career the way most teenagers who don’t really know what they want to do with their lives start it:
I mean no disrespect to anyone going for a degree in psychology, because (in my experience) good psychologists are in short supply and the world needs more of them. But, psychology is also one of those “default” degrees. Now, what I mean by that is with a psychology degree, you can enter just about any field, so it’s common for new students who don’t know what they want to do to pick psychology as a “default.” I decided it wasn’t for me when I failed 101 twice.
Witches, I love my hair. Anyone who knows me in real life can attest to the outrageous (and gorgeous) things I have done to my strands over the years. I’ve been every color in the rainbow at least once (and sometimes all at once), I’ve had just about every style except for a mullet. And there was a time when I thought, “I am good at this. I should do this as a career.” I had already failed and/or dropped the majority of my first two semesters of college, so I decided to look into cosmetology school. My dad (who has been charged with paying for my education, since my mother paid for my brother’s) and I went to the local cosmetology school, took a tour, talked with the woman, discussed cost.
My dad put the fear of God into me. Cosmetology school isn’t cheap; the local program was about $24,000 (which, now that I think about it, is considerably less than a “typical” college education would be). My dad told me—at nineteen-years-old—“This better be exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life, because I’m not paying $24,000 for you to change your mind.”
There are no words more terrifying to an already confused nineteen-year-old than “the rest of your life.” So, I axed that idea (and have regretted it ever since).
I love sociology classes. They’re fun and interesting and I’m good at them. I never officially changed my major to sociology, but it was definitely something I seriously considered pursuing. Unfortunately, when I looked up careers for sociology degrees, none of them interested me, so I never actively went for it.
My older brother is a chef. My mother is basically a professional in the kitchen. I am a Master Baker (HA). Culinary Arts just seemed the way to go. Plus, the local community college had a C.A. program. And I went in on it, for a while. But, I look at my brother who spent more than a decade putting in 16-hour days for twelve, thirteen, fourteen days straight. That is not the kind of life I want to live. Plus, kitchens are high-pressure/fast-pace arenas and that is not a great environment for someone prone to panic attacks.
Finally, after almost ten years of screwing around in community college, taking a class here or there (in my defense, for at least half of that time, I did hold employment that hindered my ability to take full course loads), dropping classes that didn’t interest me half-way through… I decided to say, “Fuck it,” and go with a major in something I know I enjoy and a career I always wanted. I decided, “I’m going to get a creative writing degree,” and officially changed my major to English. That’s how serious I was about this, witches; I never bother officially changing my major because a) setting up counseling appointments is a pain in the butt, and b) I’m prone to changing my mind. But, that doubt that’s been ingrained in me from a young age is strong. I look at the potential careers for someone with a M.F.A. in Creative Writing and I cringe. I want to write novels, or poetry. I want a book. I don’t want to be a teacher. I don’t want to be a consultant. I don’t want to write for TV or video games. I don’t want to be an editor. I want to write a book. And my blog. So, I nixed that idea again.
This has actually been the major I’ve been pursuing for about a year. I never bothered to change my official major in the counseling department, but this has actually been the track I’ve been on. It’s a field I know I can excel in. People who first meet me say I’m charming and charismatic (then they get to know me and realize I’m a raging bitch, but that’s also pretty damn handy in the business world). It kind of combined everything I liked about most of my previous majors; it requires me to get into people’s heads (psychology), look at social trends (sociology), generally has a creative outlet (English), and like a kitchen, it’s high-pressure, but without the fast-pace that triggers my anxiety. It seemed perfect, until…
A couple semesters ago, I took a nutrition class as part of my general education requirements (and also because I needed to get in shape and make better food choices). I loved it. It was fun. It combined food and science, two of my favorite things! “I should do this!” I said impulsively. Because that’s my M.O. I’m impulsive. I rush into things without thinking them through. “This is it,” I told myself. “This is the goal. Good career potential. Something I enjoy. Something I could be good at.” If I ever actually implement the lifestyle changes I learned about. But, fuck it; I’ve got time for that. I even made the appointment with my counselor and changed it. I was going to pick this path and take it to the end!
This major requires so much math. I. Fucking. Hate. Math. Now, of course, marketing requires math. Dietetics requires math, more math, physics (which is science math), chemistry (which is more science math), and nearly every math class offered at my current school. This will also take me an additional four years of schooling on top of everything I’ve already completed (and even failing/dropping so much and only taking one or two classes a semester, after ten years I have completed a lot). Most of which will be taking math and science prerequisites that won’t even apply to my major in order to get to the point that I’m allowed to take the classes that do.
Then, last Thursday, I found myself Googling, “How to set up LLC in California,” and I asked myself, “Why the fuck did I not just stick with Business/Marketing?”
Because, the fact is, everything I’ve written up there? It’s all just excuses. I could succeed with any one of those degrees. Now, I don’t mean that in an, “I’m so great, I can do anything,” kind of way. I mean, I know that if I just picked one and put in the work to learning how to do it effectively, I could be successful. Because I’d be working and devoting my time to it. I know it’s a generalization and not always the case, but hard work usually amounts to some level of success. At the very least, it amounts to getting by. And any one of those majors could lead me down the path to a good job that could offer me more than just getting by, if I work for it.
I realized I’m looking for something easy—I realized that I’m in this damaging mindset that just because I like something that it’s going to be easy. Then I start actually taking the courses (or just looking at the required courses), realize it’s not easy, and then move on to the next thing I like and think will be easy. And that is not how life works. Life only works when I do.
Time to get working.
I love you all.