College: Starting Out or Starting Over

Life is funny. It sucks. It’s too short. It’s a long road. It’s a blessing. So which is it? All of it, actually.

You’re filling out college applications. Painful! You’re pulling out your hair, you’re losing sleep, you’ve bit your nails down until they bleed because you’re told you need to figure out what you want to do with your life. At seventeen. How absurd is that? Now grant it, some people know at a young age exactly what they want to do but most of us don’t. You probably have more than one passion in your heart which makes it even harder. The pressure of picking the right school, the right career, the right life, is overwhelming. So what do you do? Don’t go to college? Not an option!

You take a deep breath and you calm the heck down. You think about the things you’re interested in, the things you’re good at and try to find something you think you’ll love with a reasonable gap of possibilities. You seek advice from parents, teachers, guidance counselors, spiritual advisers and people you admire. Friends not so much on this one, cause you’re all basically in the same panic/hyperventilating mode and as a rule of thumb you don’t take advice from others teetering on the same ledge you’re on. You apply to a bunch of colleges and hopefully get into at least one of them that you really want to go to. You have a major and a minor, maybe even a double major, and hey, kudos to you! Then guess what? After all that freaking out, you make it through college. You find a job. And then a bunch of life happens in no particular order – love, health, sickness, marriage, loss, children, homes, relocation, friends coming and going, any number of things. And it’s all good because it’s life, and you’re breathing and laughing and crying and screaming; you’re living.

Then maybe it’s ten years down the road, or twenty, and you find that the college, the career, that you chose for yourself doesn’t quite fit any more. But you decided your life back when you were seventeen, so now what? PANIC!  Nope.  Change.

You are not locked into a life made by the choice of a young adult. Those ten or twenty years will probably be great, but it’s okay to change. It’s okay to start over. It’s okay to start over lots of times. Sometimes it’s not easy, but ANYTHING worth having is worth working for. Scary? You bet your ass. At times it’s very scary. Frustrating? Oh. My. God. Nuff said. Here’s the thing tho, when you make those choices at seventeen they may be exactly what you want for your life at that time. But life is a moving, bending, molding experience. We are meant to change, to grow and to learn new things everyday. If you’re not, you better check your pulse my friend.

I speak from my own experience. In high school, I agonized over what I would do with my life. LIFE. It was like a nasty four letter word I heard in my head with a resounding hammer like a gavel in a courtroom that would decide my fate, more of a sentence to be served instead of an adventure to be had. I ended up going to the college I wanted to go to. I had a successful career and a lot of life happened, mostly good but some super sucky, not gonna lie. Twenty years later I am not the same person I was at seventeen. I no longer dress like Madonna, but hey, neither does she. I started a new career born out of a life long passion for writing. I went back to school. And that part I said about scary and frustrating? Throw in a bunch of truck-driver type cursing and that’s where I’m at a lot of the time. No disrespect to the truck drivers out there! Sometimes I think, why couldn’t I have a passion for being a grocery clerk or a burger flipper? No, I had to have a passion for a career where I hear things like “It’s just not right for me, but good luck!” on a daily basis. *sigh*

The point is, don’t stress to the point of making yourself sick. You have to go with what’s in your heart. Your whole, entire life does not depend on what college you choose today. What ever choice you make will probably change somewhere down the road. And it’s OKAY! *deep breath in, let it out slow*

Go after the things that are in your heart. Develop your passions, you never know which ones you’ll use. Be open and flexible to change. I promise you will be happier if you are. Keep self-loathing to a minimum. Squash that little voice inside your head that tries to trip you up. Give some voice to your inner most desires no matter how out of reach they seem. DREAM BIG. And in the words of Mr. Magorium, “Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.”

Peace. Happiness. Peace. And Happy Applying!