We’re going to start off this post with a heart-warming story about myself.
A week ago I was hanging with some friends at a house, chilling, doing whatever college kids do when they come home for the summer. Our host’s dad had a few friends over, and they’d had a few drinks, naturally. One woman was hanging out with all of us kids, asking loudly where everyone was planning on going to college/where they were already at. When she got to me, I answered proudly, “Miami University of Ohio.” The conversation went as follows:
“Oh, good for you. What’s your major?”
(Equally as proudly) “I’m a creative writing and Journalism double major.”
(Totally, genuinely serious) “Oh. So when are you gonna change it?”
………………..Let’s pause quickly here.
“I’m not going to.”
“Oh come on, even just add some business in there – “
(Laugh politely) “Business isn’t one of my interests. I love writing, I really think I can do this.”
I smiled and walked away before she could finish her next, equally stupid and close-minded sentence comparing me to herself when she was in college.
I know that at this point in the post, what I am talking about may not apply to you, but keep reading because I swear I can relate this all back to a universal point.
Unfortunately as an aspiring writer, I’ve run into this kind of total ignorance and upfront judgement regarding my very real goals. My future and my dreams have almost always been condescended upon simply because they aren’t the easy way out. People don’t like the idea of writing as a degree because it doesn’t provide a blueprint to follow when you get out in the world. I’m not going to get a business degree or a medical degree or a law degree; I’m getting a writing degree because I’m a good-ass writer. If I had a dime for every time someone said a passive “Oh, that’s nice” or “Good for you” regarding my major, I could drop out and be a millionaire. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe I’ll start charging people for being condescending. How’s that for a business strategy, lady?
The thing is, no matter how much comments like these might get to me, ignorant people totally fuel my hate-fire. There will ALWAYS be people that think that their definition of success is the only correct one. There will always be people telling you how to live your life. If I knew why they think that they have the right to do so, I would totally tell you, but I have no clue. If you figure it out, let me know.
The truth is, no one has the right to judge your dream. My worst fear is to wake up one day and realize I’d been living a life that’s perfect to everyone else’s standards but mine. There is nothing wrong with wanting to do things your way. That’s the only way you should be living; be you and do your thing in every aspect of your life, whether it be in how you look or talk, in your prospective professional life, or even just how you sing in the car (Who hasn’tbeen judged for their terrible singing voice?). The people who think you can’t do what you want to do are the people who never got to do what they wanted to do.
If I’ve learned one thing in my first year of college, it’s to surround yourself with people who are big. (I’m talking about supportive and positive people, but college athletes work too 😉 .) People who are small will only try to make you feel littler than they are. I’m lucky enough to have amazing friends and family who believe in me more than I do at times. Weed out the people who don’t make you feel like you can do it (because you can); eradicating these people from your life may feel like getting rid of that stupidly comfy bra you’ve had for so long. It’s no longer supportive, it’s kind of a weird color because you’ve over-washed it, but you’re used to wearing it so you keep it around. (Guys, maybe you could replace bras with old briefs in this situation? Ugh, I don’t know, boys are weird. Make up your own metaphor.) Throw the bra away! It’s not sexy on you, your boobs look saggy, and it matches none of your underwear because it’s a creepy color! It’s ruining your life!
So I guess this post is for people who want to do things outside the box. It’s for the almost-high school graduates who will be taking a gap year, or the kid that isn’t going to their parent’s Alma mater, or the guy who’s already kick-started his career, or the girl who wants to be a soldier in combat, or the person who knows they have the drive but doesn’t know what it’s for just yet. This life is too short to be living to someone else’s standards. We have a very limited amount of time here; it’s not worth sacrificing your dreams to make others feel more comfortable with what you’re doing. And for recent high school and college graduates – the world has room for your dreams, you just may have to clear out your own space first.
And so I will conclude with this: I say that by the time I’m that lady’s age, I can guarantee you that I will be an accomplished writer, unlike her. I can also guarantee you that I won’t be drinking with high schoolers, unlike her. I hope you’ll stick to your dreams, too.
People can say what they want. All you’ve gotta do is prove them wrong.
// (In-text picture from @TweetLikeAGirl) //