A complete state of panic took over my entire being. I was a train wreck full of nervousness and anxiety. Every morning I woke up with the lingering question on my mind, “What do I want to do for the rest of my life?”
It all began the fall semester of my junior year when I went into a complete freak out, mid-life crisis, “what do I want to do for the rest of my life” mode. And let me tell you, the feeling came out of nowhere. One day I was an excited middle school education major, ready to take over my own classroom with all my own students. The next moment I found myself freaking out about if teaching was the right career path for me.
From the time I was little, it was engraved into my brain that I would grow up, attend college, and become a teacher. Everyone always beat it into my head about how I would be such a great teacher blah blah blah… So what did I do? I closed myself off to all other career paths and solely focused on teaching. Great hours, a respectful career, awesome benefits, plus I really did enjoy the school atmosphere. It didn’t become real to me until my first “real” teaching class in college. As part of an assignment, we had to create “lesson plans” based on core content the instructor picked out for us. This is when a red flag went up for me.
“Why am in this classroom?”…”Do I have a passion for teaching?”… “I don’t want to be here anymore.”
In this moment, I had officially entered the beginning of my mid-college crisis (like a mid-life crisis, only decades earlier than expected).
I woke up every day stressed out on what I wanted to do with my life. As a junior in college, this wasn’t the most ideal time to be changing majors (especially if I planned on graduating on time). A couple weeks prior to the crisis, I had planned on graduating with a B.S. in Middle School Education, hopeful to find a job teaching 6th grade math. And now, completely out of nowhere, I was unsure about everything.
I found comfort in some of my close friends through this crazy transition. You would be surprised how venting to a friend, them giving you feedback and support, really changes what you might believe to be a catastrophe into a somewhat bearable situation.
And when all else fails, make a pro and con list (it works every time!).
As some of you know, I decided to take a leap of faith and change my major to Communication Arts with an emphasis in PR and Advertising. With a little miracle work from my favorite adviser, Dr. Vogt, I was still able to graduate on time.
What I learned from all of this is you have to become the person you want to be. Family members, friends, mentors, and teachers will all try to guide you in the “right” direction (and don’t get me wrong, they will have good intentions), but at the end of the day you have to do what is going to make you happy. No one can live this life for you, so stop letting others mold you into the individual they “think” you should be.
I also learned that, hey, I’m only 20 years old (at the time). I have my entire life ahead of me to decide what exactly I want to do with my life. If a major career change happens later on down the road, then so be it.