Have you ever wanted something so badly you were willing to take a chance that might dictate the outcome of the rest of your life? I haven’t.
Let me explain…
I’m about to be a college graduate. Wow. It seems a little premature for me to be saying those words, but it’s not. I’ve busted my butt for four years to receive a piece of paper that will significantly change my life, but the thing is…it’s not really the paper that I want.
I wanted to be a journalist. My whole life I’ve wanted to be a journalist. I used to create pretend newspapers and leave them on the front porch for my dad to pick up with the Salina Journal in the mornings. Inside, you would find a conglomeration of the happenings in our family and neighborhood.
“The Edwards family got a new puppy named Isobel.”
“The Simons are taking a trip to Minnesota and the Ruckers will be taking care of their houseplants during their vacation.”
It all seems trivial now, but back then, it was breaking news. I’d go to school and watch my peers and the “dramas” in their lives, and then rush home to record the important information in my journal. I loved it. Watching human interactions, seeing how a community works, and then writing down what I see, that is my bread and butter. When I was approaching my high school graduation, I knew that I wanted to go to the University of Kansas because their “J” school was high quality. I was going to live in Ellsworth Hall and go to E’s for meals and don’t get me started on KU basketball. It was a perfect future. Until it wasn’t.
My father, who is really one of my best friends, and one of the strongest people I know, stopped me in my tracks.
“You want to be a journalist? You’ll starve. Do something that will feed you, and write all you want on your own time.”
I put a lot of stock in my dad’s words that day, and I knew my dream was flawed. Feeding myself on a journalist’s “salary” wasn’t possible. Journalists didn’t make money. They were couch potatoes. They had no stability. That wasn’t for me.
“You’re so smart Caitie,” he said, “You need to go into business. You have the mindset of a successful business woman, and I think you’ll be really happy in that type of position.”
My dad was a Business Administration major by the way.
So I told KU to screw off, and off I went to Bethany in Lindsborg is pursue “my” dream. I soon realized that it wasn’t really a dream. There weren’t any writing assignments, and when there were, they were not fun or interesting. I wasn’t very happy with my classes, but my extracurriculars were distracting enough that I didn’t realize it. I received high grades in all of my courses, but my EN 101 class, was obviously where I invested the majority of my study time. My professor noticed. By the end of the semester she had me signed up to pursue an English minor, and honestly, I don’t know where I would be today if I hadn’t followed her advice.
I’ve discovered throughout college that I am a writer. First and foremost that is who I am. I wasn’t brave enough to pursue my dream at KU because I allowed one bit of criticism stop me. I don’t think for a minute that my dad held me back, in fact, if anything, he helped me find my guns and taught me how to stick to them. My piece of paper I receive on Sunday, May 18 in Presser Hall, will not say “Journalism” on it anywhere. But I don’t really care. I’ve got my degree.
Writing is something I do for me. If you don’t find your passion, what makes you tick, what makes your heart beat a little faster, you’re selling yourself short. Take your chance. I didn’t take mine, and while it is a little sad to look back on, I learned from that. I’m 22 years old, I have plenty more chances to take, and my goal is that I don’t miss out on any more.
Until next time or not, I’m still Cait.