Growing up, I wanted to be a lot of things: a malpractice lawyer, marine biologist, chef, fairy princess, couch (if you ask my older sister). I’d always craved a career where I was helping people, animals, justice. I wanted to carve a life for myself where I knew that I was making a difference in the world. So naturally, the smartest thing was to transfer my major to writing.
I’d been writing creatively since I was seven. Words came easy for me. Stories flooded my mind, often ambushing me before I had time to grab a pen. I can type almost 100 words a minute because of it. After graduating with my Associate’s degree, the degree that unfortunately acts as a glorified high school diploma, I was on the cusp of majoring in psychology. My best friend asked me one day, after sending her the first draft of my book, why I wasn’t majoring in the one thing I’ve loved my entire life?
So I took the plunge and I became a Creative Writing and English major. When I tell people this, I often get a curious response as to what I want to be after I graduate: teacher? Or a teacher? Maybe a teacher? If only they knew that I have crippling anxiety in front of crowds and that the one time I gave a writing seminar to my high school class, I nearly fainted and was never asked back.
You’ll have your eyes opened to what the world of writing is like because it’s not entirely limitless. They are rules, guidelines. You’ll learn how to format, how to condense, how to “cut the fat” of your story despite how much you think it works. You’ll be forced to come to terms with your writing style, and you’ll learn even further that not everybody’s is similar. In every case, writing is different. It’s like art: it’s subjective.
Aside from your journey into journalism, and screenplays, world mythology, and learning the ropes of social media, sometimes you’re going to feel like you’ve wasted a lot of time and a lot of energy on a career path that won’t pay off. You’ll have days where you think you’ve ruined your life. You’ll apply for jobs only to never receive any calls back. You’ll apply for internships along with a thousand other college-aged millennials just trying to catch their big break. You’ll get rejected. Often.
Having an artistic major isn’t setting yourself up for failure. Trust me, not every soul is meant to be captured in an office for nine hours a day. Some of us aren’t good at numbers, or not having creative freedom and reign over our own lives. Writing takes discipline. It takes concentration. It takes forcing yourself to write each and every morning, even when you don’t feel inspired. Even when it’s the last thing you want to do.
I won’t sugarcoat it, you’re going to be competing with a swarm of other talented writers for limited amount of jobs. However, having a writing major doesn’t limit you to be just a writer working at Vogue. This type of degree gives you the knowledge and confidence in yourself to market your very own brand to the masses. Do you think Dr. Seuss tried to conform his unique style just so it’d be popular? What about Shel Silverstein? What about Stephen King whose simplicity in describing evil within the ordinary still makes him one of the best worldwide sellers in the universe? I could go on and on but the main point is that each author whose book lines your shelf, whose artistry you’re forced to read, whose words line an online blog like this, each is a culmination of their past experiences, their hidden desires, their blood, sweat and tears, and a whole ton of rejection and self-doubt because trying to become a writer is one of the hardest, most satisfying things you can do.
Sure, I worry about jobs after graduation, but so did my best friend who majored in business after four years and went on to have their master’s. If it’s impossible to get a job anyway, then why not take the chance and chase after the one career you believe you can make it? You literally have nothing to lose.