Growing up I always wanted to be a writer, whether that be a novelist, a journalist, or a screen writer, I don’t know, I just knew that I wanted to write. Going into high school I threw myself into AP English courses, thinking that, that was what would make me successful. However along the way I realized AP wasn’t for me and suddenly I found myself doubting the one thing I was always told I had going for me. So a few years ago I ended up dropping my AP classes feeling completely discouraged, and decided that I was going to be an accountant.
Looking back I don’t know if I decided this because it was the complete opposite of the thing that had made me feel so insecure, or if I was just generally interested in the work force. All I knew for sure was that it was a safe career path, that I would make a decent earning straight out of university, and that, well, I didn’t suck at it. Unlike writing it wasn’t objective, it was either you get it or you don’t, and I got it.
From then on I decided to throw all my hopes of writing into the trash and focus on all the prerequisites it would take for me to get into a decent business school to become an accountant. To be honest it didn’t hurt that all the family members that I told this plan to were completely on board with it. It was as if I was suddenly taken seriously as a young adult, rather than a child with a foolish dream. I liked feeling like I was doing something right with my life, and at the time it did feel right.
But then math came along – one of the major business school prerequisites – and while I was getting high 80’s in my accounting class, I was constantly on the cusp of failing math. You would think that after failing to maintain the average to stay in my AP math class, I would get the hint, but I just figured that if I worked hard enough, I would eventually get it. And I did get it, but come 12th grade, I was so behind due to just barely passing math for the past three years that no matter what I understood now, I still wouldn’t know what was taught then.
Math became hell for me. I couldn’t sleep, I was anxious, and I was constantly terrified about my future rather than being excited. No matter how many times my math teacher suggested that perhaps accounting wasn’t for me, and that if I was this miserable now, that I would be even more miserable doing math for the rest of my life, I didn’t listen. In my head all I heard was the praise of cousins and family members, and that this was the only way to be successful, and that writing was too risky, and I honestly believed it. I thought that accounting and business was the only way I would ever be successful. I hated science, I can’t sing, I can’t dance, and I can’t act, I thought this was my only option, and that even if I was bored, and had to do math for the rest of my life, at least I would be making money.
Then one day after having a breakdown while trying to study for a math test, I asked myself what is success? Is it strictly momentary? Or is there something more? Then it hit me, maybe everyone else is wrong, maybe fast and reliable isn’t the only way to make a successful living. I realized that of the courses that I was taking that semester, the only one I found myself truly engaged in, and looked forward to attending was English.
Maybe it was because it was something I understood, maybe it was my teacher, I don’t know. But without even realizing it, I fell in love with writing again. I actually started reading more, and even looked forward to writing essays. I kept asking myself, why can’t I do this for a living? Why can’t writing just be what I do for the rest of my life? I would be so much happier.
So why can’t I pursue something I love? Do something that brought me joy and excitement and motivated me to go to school? Oh wait that’s right! I can! So just like that, in one night I decided screw easy money, screw convenience, screw safe, I dropped math, and decided to change everything I had worked towards for the past few years and to pursue English.
I don’t know what I will necessarily do with an English degree. I know that my life will no longer be easily mapped out for me. I know that there are going to be people in my life that don’t agree with my choice, and that there are people who are glad that I’ve decided to do something I want. And I do know that with a business degree, while I might have money, I won’t necessarily be happy. This brings me back to success. Maybe I won’t make great money right away, or ever at all, and maybe I won’t make everyone impressed with my maturity, and knowledge of the stock market, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be successful.
Maybe I’m not the greatest writer, and maybe I won’t be the next Stephen King, but you know what? Maybe I will be, I’ll never know unless I try. Maybe I’ll find my voice and be a millionaire, and my books will become movies, or maybe I’ll decide to be a teacher, or a professor, and share my passion with other people who are just like me. I don’t know a lot about what life will hold for me after school, but I know that as long as I enjoy what I’m doing, and I’m confident in my life choices, that I will work hard, and with that I will always be successful.