During my high school experience, it was drilled into my mind that to be successful, you had to go to college. If not, you would then struggle for money and be viewed as “unsuccessful” or a “waste." Today, adults don’t ask if you are going to college; they first assume that you are and follow with the question of, “Where are you going to university?” At the beginning of my senior year, I would shrug my shoulders and feel embarrassed because, I, a 17-year-old at the time, had no idea where I wanted to go to college or what I wanted to study. The idea of four more years of school always lingered over my head as a feeling of dread. I had no desire to experience more schooling but felt like I was required to go due to my successes in high school. As an academic scholar and honor roll student, many saw me as someone that would thrive at college. However, I felt the complete opposite.
As I was filling out my application for Purdue University, I kept telling myself that it was the right thing for me to do. I had no other plan for the future, so I had to go to university. I applied and anxiously waited for weeks for a reply as my father let everyone know that I was planning on studying at Purdue. My stress rose as I felt everyone expecting me to get in, but then the letter arrived in the mail. As I opened the letter a rush of relief fell over my body; I got accepted. I was now a part of the exploratory studies program at Purdue University. Which meant I was going into college still with no exact idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I kept telling myself that I would figure it out in the end.
Months had gone by and I was not feeling good about beginning college undecided. However, over time I discovered that I had an immense love for writing. I investigated all the Purdue majors and came across one titled "professional writing." My eyes lit up. Did I just find the major for me? As I started to feel more excited about going to college, I still felt like what I was doing wasn’t right. I thought that people would look down on me for majoring in something like writing because I believed that people thought that the business, agriculture or health fields were the right paths to take. I kept wondering what people would think when I told them that I wanted to write for a career. I did not let these thoughts get in my way, though. I applied for a major change at Purdue and then the stressful wait began again.
It was spring break and as I was sitting inside, I opened my email. An email from Purdue was the most recent with the words, “Congratulations!” in the title. I instantly knew that I got in. I told my parents with a face filled with joy. I was proud of what I had accomplished. It felt like I was finally doing the right thing for myself and college started to seem like something that would be OK for me.
As summer got closer and closer, I again began to feel unsure about going to college. It had nothing to do with Purdue. The thoughts of more school and the stress that I knew I would undergo would not leave my head. I started to feel like I had absolutely no desire to go. This feeling made me feel sick to my stomach because I had already accepted my offer and was terrified to tell my parents I was feeling this way, but I knew it was something that I had to do. One afternoon I sat next to my mom and broke the news to her. As tears rolled down my face due to feeling like a disappointment, my mom reassured me that she supported me with any decision that I made. I felt so relieved. To know that my parents would stand by my side no matter what decision I made about college made me feel a new sense of support.
I took a couple of weeks to get myself together to make my final decision. I allowed myself time to figure out why I was feeling such confusion about what I wanted to do in the future. After analyzing myself, I came to find that I didn’t have faith in myself or abilities, even when it came to writing, which is something that I love. However, with discovering this and recognizing the profound support that my parents always had and will have for me rekindled my desire to want to chase my dreams.
Sure, I would have to go through some difficult experiences and schooling to achieve this dream, but I came to recognize that it would all be worth it in the end. I started to begin with the end in mind. To imagine myself at the end of the finish line with that degree and doing what I love with my life motivated me. It made the struggles of college seem like it would all be worth it. Feeling lost and confused opened whole new discoveries of myself, which is why I am glad I had second thoughts about attending college.
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