Since I can remember, I’ve always had a plan in my life. When I was 7, I wanted to be a professional ballerina. So every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, my hair was in a neat, perfect bun and I was ready to bourrée until my legs fell off. After my dreams of being in the American Ballet Theatre were crushed with my lack of a “ballerina body” and the realization of how rare it was to become a professional dancer, I regrouped and started again. I continued to dance, but I knew I would have to choose a profession that would support me financially, help me make a difference in the world, and most of all, make me happy.
With that mindset, in high school I decided I wanted to venture into politics. It was something I felt strongly about, my parents beamed with joy when they would say their eldest daughter was going to become president one day and it was genuinely something I was very curious about, and still am. After dropping all of my four-year university plans, I found myself at a local community college. I said “goodbye” to all of my high school friends that were off to start a new chapter of their lives, and spent all summer dreading the fact that all of the hours I spent cramming for AP tests and finals was wasted.
Although I was unhappy, I went into my first semester of college with the decision that I would do anything to get out out of there in two years. Two years would be all it would take. I would take every class I needed. Take no breaks in between, that meant summer AND winter classes. And I would know everything there needs to know about politics. That was my plan.
I'm getting ready to start my fourth and final year at the same community college before transferring. I dropped PoliSci to become a journalism major. And oh yeah, somehow my colleagues and journalism adviser trusted me enough to make me the Editor-In-Chief (or Head Bitch In Charge) of my colleges online newspaper. This wasn’t exactly a part of my plan, was it?
If you told me four years ago that this was what my future held, I would hysterically laugh and politely ask you to leave me the hell alone. Me? Out of all people? I wouldn’t know what’s more shocking, the community college aspect or the journalism aspect. But here I am.
We spend so much of our lives thinking about the future. One of the first questions we are ever posed with in our educational lives is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” If you think about it, there are only a small grouping of professions that kindergarteners know. Princess. Astronaut. Teacher. Doctor. You’re asked again a few years later, and the small grouping grows and grows and grows. Scientist. Accountant. Actress. Business owner. Then years later, you’re, once again, asked again. Microbiologist. Criminal Justice Lawyer. Engineer. Anthropologist.
You’re supposed to know, and if you don’t, you messed up somewhere.
Looking back, all the stress of planning out my life, took away from the living part of it. Which is just…kinda important, right?
My choice to switch to journalism and take the communications route truly stemmed from my love for social media, my obsession with Anna Wintour, and always making sure people heard what I had to say. That sentence just screams millennial in every way.
My parent’s weren’t the happiest when I first broke the news that I was handing in my pant suit to become a journalist, but thankfully, I’m good at what I do and they now brag that their daughter, that was once going to become president, now has won national awards at journalism conferences, has had opportunities to speak on panels at said conferences about her experiences in the digital age of media and holds an editorial position for the first college online newspaper to have a partnership with the publishing site, Medium.
The past three years of my life have been a, excuse my language, shit-show of discovering myself, prioritizing the things in my life that I think are important, accepting the love from the beautiful people I choose to surround myself with, and picking myself back up whenever I fall.
Not having a plan and one-day walking into a newsroom, filled with friendly faces and endless opportunities just waiting to be taken, changed my life for the better. I’ve gone to so many places. Learned so many things. Spoken to so many people. And most importantly, uncovered so many things about myself.
If you have your life planned out, that’s great. But if you don’t, forget about plans and go find something that makes you happy. Surround yourself with things and people that inspire you. You are in charge of your life. Go do something amazing.
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