Thursday, September 16, 2010

Finding Direction

Every child has an idea of what they want to be when they grow up: little boys envision growing into firemen, doctors, or astronauts, while girls dream of life as a ballerina, a princess, or an obstetrician in my cousin Gillian's case. I claimed I wanted to be a “ceaning 'ady”, which baffles me now as cleaning is often the last thing on my mind. That phase did not last long, however, and for most of my life I have simply wanted to find a husband, have lots of kids and be a homemaker.
When I was fourteen I went to the wedding of my twenty-five year old cousin and I remember thinking, “Twenty-five is so old! I will definitely already be married by the time I'm twenty-five!” My plan was to be married at twenty-two, have my first child at twenty-five, and live happily ever after. I set off to college fully expecting to find my husband and not finish school.
With my homemaking goals in mind I had no idea what I wanted to study, but chose Elementary Education because it made sense: I love kids, and have a knack for teaching. I started out well with a semester of general education classes at a community college, but after transferring to a private University with a good Elementary Education program I realized that teaching was not my passion. I went back to the community college and enrolled in all fun classes for the next several semesters simply to secure coverage under my dad's insurance, and assumed I would figure out another major to undertake before long. But I was lost. I truly did not know what I wanted to do if “Plan A” failed, and as soon as I had a job that paid for my insurance, I quit school. What was the point without direction? What would I do with a degree in a field in which I had no desire to work? At that time I was still optimistic about finding a husband at a young age and not needing “Plan B”.
As time wore on and my plans remained unrealized, I began thinking more about my future and my possibilities. Instead of having my first child at twenty-five, I was single and working a mindless and mundane office job, desperately in need of change. Without knowing what I wanted to do, I decided to go back to school to finish my Associate Degree in the hopes that I would figure something out in the process. I applied at the local community college and was ready to register when I got sidetracked by what I refer to as the crap storm: one event after another that derailed my life as I knew it and pushed all thoughts of school out of my mind.
Over the next few years as I sorted through the debris left by the crap storm, I did a lot of thinking and realized that I wanted to write. I have always loved writing and have several story ideas that I have been working on for years, but I never make time to sit down and get them done. While a degree is not necessary to publish a book, it certainly cannot hurt, and it will give me the needed push to make time for writing..
I have been thinking about going back to school for Creative Writing for several months now, but a few weeks ago I decided to go for it. I knew I was cutting it extremely close when I applied at Pierce College and filled out the FAFSA two weeks before classes started, but I was accepted and given financial aid. I talked to a counselor about the classes I would need to take in order to transer to CSUN and graduate with my AA simultaneously, and it looks like I will only need a few semesters at Pierce. Unfortunately, because I applied so late, all the classes I do need are full, so I made up a schedule of classes I would be crashing and trying to add, and during the first week of school I attended eight classes. I was only able to register for Geography, but I am happy to have been able to get any class at all! I am once again officially a student, but for the first time I am genuinely excited about college. Though it took twenty-nine years, I finally know what I want to do!