￼When I started high school, I was a bit of a brat. I mentally judged and mocked the other girls for clinging on to the days of conformity that we had just left in middle school.
I hated the fact that girls placed so much importance on having Ugg boots and Northface jackets in every color. I scoffed at these warm and comfortable, yet unattractive fashion choices. Thinking I was the prime of fashion in 2007, I wore big bows on my head and brightly colored leggings with ballet flats. I had been spending every night on my desktop computer in my childhood room for hours instead of doing my homework. I devoured fashion blogs and wrote a lot of fan-fiction. I would sit on my computer until my eyes were rid and itchy because I felt that online, I could find other girls that I thought I had things in common with, unlike the girls at my conservative Catholic school.
Internet acquaintances took the roles of real friends. In retrospect, I should have spent more time getting to know the girls in my real life and I should have put more effort into school work than into creating an online following. And yet, no matter how much I can look back and think that I have grown and matured (and I think I have), I still think there was a tiny part of me that really had a sense of who I was. I was introverted and naive, but I knew that social media fascinated me. I knew that I loved fashion and that putting my thoughts into writing was the most lucrative way for me to express myself. I knew I wanted to travel the world and I knew I wanted to write. So, for a while, my future career path of choice was journalism.
￼As high school progressed, I calmed down a bit on my rampage to get girls to stop wearing Ugg boots and made a small group of good friends. As I went to the mall with them, had sleepovers, and whatever else I did in high school that I now blocked out of my memory, I had less and less free time to write and to reflect on the life I wanted for myself after high school. I sort of forgot that I liked to write and my love for writing down my thoughts wouldn’t spark again until the end of my college career.
College is a funny thing.
Being in an environment for four years where everything from your teachers to your peers seem to tell you that you need to get a job in exactly what you majored in can give you some pretty skewed ideas of yourself. Somewhere between my sophomore year in high school and soon after college started, I realized I like to work with kids. I also knew that I wanted to travel a lot after college. So, forgetting the things I was so passionate about in my days of having limited friends and ample free time, I decided being a teacher was a good idea. I would get to work with kids and have lots of time of during the year to travel. I continued this idea all throughout college, thinking that it was a secure job choice in a time when many new graduates were having trouble finding jobs and I was experiencing the fast-approaching doom of my student loans.
It cannot be denied that I always thought that something was always missing within myself throughout college. I felt like I was just not experiencing everything that I could. I was squashing a huge part of myself like a small, helpless ant. I felt the most free and happy when I could use the creativity I knew I had in my brain instead of letting it sit idly like a lost toy waiting for a child to love it again. When I failed a teaching certification exam at the beginning of my senior year, I started to finally realize that I may want to use some of my other interests in a career.
As of right now, I’m officially interested in journalism again and getting to write about the things I love. It’s a fairly common thing in our day to still wonder what to do after college and even to make several career changes throughout life. However, it’s funny to look back on my 15-year-old self and see that there was a little part of me that is still very much the same, but just needed several more years to learn and mature and become a more patient and less judgmental person. I still think we need to remember what made us happy as young people before the world, our parents, and everything else in life told us who we should be. There is something to be said for a young person just beginning to figure out small snippets of who they are. For me, these snippets are slowly beginning to shape a broader picture of my future that has nothing to do with what I studied in college.
College taught me lots of things. College taught me how to properly cite my papers, how to unclog a shower drain after three girls with thick brown hair have been sharing it, how to gain and then lose the freshman 15, but not how to learn from myself. That would come after an enormous amount of trial and error.