Pondering College Absurdities

I feel like, at this point, most of us have had a crisis of some sort — existential, mental, emotional… So many options to crisis about, huh?

I’ve struggled with fitting in the right “socially acceptable” job for a long time, and I can’t help but blame it on the lack of support I received from my school during my freshman year.

The thing is I always wanted to be a dancer and / or an actress. I liked (I still love) writing, too, obviously, but at the time I didn’t know it was a thing. Even though I took some creative writing courses, I never even tried to go for a degree in anything involving writing.

To summarize where I’m going with this, when it was my turn to talk to my first college adviser about my career ambitions, he told me I was “too old” to start a major in Theater; that I needed a portfolio I didn’t have (that part was true) and needed years and years of training in ballet (he could’ve given me other dancing options) and he basically just killed my dreams at that meeting.

So, when I told him I hadn’t thought of a backup plan — because, really, all I wanted to breathe, eat, and sleep was performing arts — he said that I could just take some “elective” classes in the meantime, until I figured out what else I wanted to do, but insisted I stayed enrolled in school.

To this date, I still ask myself, What. The. F — k was that?

I followed the staff’s advice and stayed in school for practically seven years, trying to figure out what the hell I wanted to be. They were nice humans, and I didn’t know better. I thought I was in good hands. I trusted them.

At one point, I declared History as my major. I discovered, then, that while you can have a deep appreciation for something, it doesn’t necessarily translate to career material. It’s a whole different story when you try to make a living out of it.

After a serious case of seniority, I decided that it was time for me to “peace out” and I settled for a degree in International Studies (because it allowed me to focus on Spanish, French, and Italian) and at least I knew my love for languages was never going to fade. I’m still sure of that.

I’m writing this today because I was looking back at my professional life and what I wish I had done differently, and I’m not where I’d planned to be by now. I was having a rough night. But I’m not doing as bad as others, I suppose.

And because I know better now, I feel that I can tell newly graduates this: know what you want before you enroll in any college or university. Don’t just go to school because society says you have to. You can get an education anywhere. Seriously.

Follow your heart. Don’t settle for bullshit. Schools have an agenda, and that is to make money out of each one of you. If a school isn’t giving you what you need, look somewhere else! Don’t make the same mistake I made. Forget what anybody else tells you; GO BIG. Follow your dreams, baby!

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