Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Great Degree Problem

As many of you know, dear readers, I am a college student.

I attend a local community college where I am working on an Associates of Arts with an emphasis in Creative Writing.  The fall will mark my third year there, earning my two year degree.  Oh yeah. It's awesome. 

I originally started as a Bio major, which many of you may not know.  My passion for the longest time was birds of prey.  Owls, hawks, falcons, kites, eagles - I knew them by sight, some by sound, and I wanted to spend every day working with them. I still love them, and it's hard for me to not identify them as I'm driving down the road.

But things change.

I realized last spring that Biology was not the path for me.  It was technical.  And while I have the brains to handle it, it was more effort than I wanted to put forth.  Instead, I re-discovered my love of words.  I have always been a good writer, and I have always loved writing.  Through a literature class, my love of reading and writing was re-awoken.

And when I took a creative writing class last fall, I realized what I want to do with my life: I want to write.

It probably should have been clear earlier on.  I mean, I can't not write.  It is a part of me.  My favorite part of buying school supplies is getting new notebooks and ink pens.  I love the stimulation of taking characters I know intimately or the beauty of the world around me and putting it onto my computer or in a notebook in a way that others can know, too.

But now, my readers, I'm faced with a problem.

You would think it would be easy now that I know what I want to do.  The truth is, though, that the job market is not very open.  I decided this morning to take a look to see what's available for my A.A. degree.  The answer? Not a whole lot. 

It seems that in order to put my degree to good use, I either need to become a very good freelance writer or I need to get my B.A.  I'm not sure I want my B.A.  I'm successful at college and I enjoy it.  But I don't really enjoy it enough to go for another two or three years.  I really want to get a full time job and taste the world of independence.

See, I live at home with my family.  I don't have my own car.  I rely on my parents for pretty much everything.  And while that's fine, there comes a point where I want to know that I can live on my own.  I need to know that I can provide for myself and that I can live in an environment where I will be able to be safe on my own.

(For anyone wondering about it, that was part of why I didn't got straight to a four year school.  At the time I graduated high school, I wasn't convinced that I could trust myself enough to be safe living away from home.  It's a problem a lot of people don't have to worry about; for me though, I still hear the voice in the back of my brain from time to time.)

My sister and I want to get an apartment together before things change.  I want to do that more than anything.  I want that time with her.  I want that time to grow before the changes progress.

On top of it, I've been having a lot of people tell me that I should got to a four year school or ask me if I've considered going.  Professors, friends, family members, mentors.  It makes me question my path.  And I hate that.  I don't think a lot of them mean to put pressure on me, but that's what ends up happening. 

I just need to know that it's going to be ok in the end.  I just need to know that my choices aren't going to define me.  I need to know that I'm supported no matter what, and that I'm loved regardless of what I choose.

I think what finally brought this to a head (because I've been quietly struggling with it for some time now) is what's going on with my sweet boyfriend.  I love him more than anything and I want him to be happy, and right now, he's not.  He's not thrilled with what his path is and he's trying to figure out what to do next.  It's hard to be a third party.  I can't make his choices for him, and I know it.  I can't tell him what to do.

All I can do is tell him the truth: that I'll always be there, supporting him no matter what he does.  That I'll love him no matter what he chooses and that I'll follow him anywhere, even if it means leaving all I know behind. 

(If this isn't love, then I don't know what is.  I've never felt so sure of something in my entire life.  And I mean it, too. )

I feel sick to my stomach and now I'm starting to cry.  I don't know what is going on with me, but I feel like I can't handle it right now.  There shouldn't be so much pressure on us, this next generation.  All I want to do is work and write and knit.  Why is that so hard for everyone to understand? 

Why is it all so hard to understand?


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