8.21.2009

I have too much in my head...

Ah, junior year. Arguably the scariest year of high school, and mine's starting in just a few short days.

This is going to be a very different year for me, in plenty of ways: it's my last year of Spanish, for one, and my first year of non-block scheduling and AP classes. It'll also be the first year since kindergarden that I didn't look forward to.

Usually, by the time August rolls around, I'm excited, practically bouncing off the walls, ready for new teachers and new classes, friends, notebooks and pencils. This year, however, August is coming to a close and I just don't feel the same. I'm almost dreading getting up at 6 AM on the 25th and getting my butt in a desk by 7:20. I've chalked it up to a combination of nerves about AP English and the fact that my boyfriend, a senior, will be having a much easier year than me and keeps rubbing my nose in it; I think, though, that an even bigger issue might be hiding under those.

Junior year marks the start of college planning, particularly for "ambitious" students such as myself. You're expected to at least have some clue as to what you'll be doing after graduation, and therein lies my problem: I don't. I thought I did, but things often don't go as you plan, and now I'm stuck back at square one with nowhere in sight to move on to.

Up until the middle of my sophomore year, I had a grand plan for my future. I was going to go to a good college, make it through my pre-med courses, somehow end up at Jonhs Hopkins for medical school, and then transition smoothly into my career as an oncologist. Then it started getting complicated. Somewhere in there, I wanted to get married, settle down in a nice suburb and have some kids. I wanted to travel, live without too many connections for awhile. When I got to thinking, though, none of that fit into my "plan". I'm not saying doctors can't have families, but it seems to me that starting one in the midst of med school, internships and residencies isn't the best idea, especially for someone like me, who is already very maternal and plans to spend a lot of time on her kids. Plus, I get the feeling that a career path that blends smoothly from school to full time work probably isn't the best for taking a year or two off to travel, as I'd love to do.

After awhile, as you can imagine, I decided that treating cancer wasn't what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and scrapped that idea. My abstract goals for my future (taking a year or two to travel and live without connections to many people or places) were practically cemented in my mind when I met Ryan, who has similar goals and made the whole thing sound a lot more likely to happen for me, too. I'm so past my old plan of action that there's no chance I'll be going back to it. This leaves one quite obvious choice. I need to come up with something new to aspire to.

That's easier said than done, unfortunately, especially since my old dream caused people to develop all these expectations of me that I no longer want to live up to. I don't want to be the rich doctor who spends all her life working so she can fully provide for several generations of her family. I just want to be a laid back, creative girl with enough money to live comfortably on. I don't want a huge house or a shiny sports car or a white picket fence. I just want a decent, clean apartment, a truck that runs and maybe a loving boyfriend to split the rent with.

The problem is, I don't know how to get there. Everything between now and then is a blank for me. I'd love to be an artist, open a boutique in a city somewhere and make a living selling things I make, design and handpick from other artists' collections. But how do you explain a risky dream like that to a family expecting you to go into the medical field, a garaunteed money-maker? And besides, how do you go about picking a college or a major that works into that? I suppose I could major in business or art, but neither of those appeal to me as much as just jumping in, creating and building a business from the ground up, learning as I go. But college degrees are a necessity in today's world, and since I'm expected to have an answer when people ask what I want to major in, I've taken to saying, "Graphic design, at University of Houston."

Why, you're probably wondering, did I go on forever about not knowing what to do with my life when I obviously have an answer right there? Well, my response to that would be, "Just because I have an answer doesn't mean it's one I like." I mean, don't get me wrong, graphic design is a perfectly good major (I think I'd actually be pretty good at it) and UH is a good school. But honestly, I'm scared to death of making a final decision (hence my apprehension about the start of the "decision-making" year), so I just pick what's easy. I say I want to go to UH because it's like my safety school. It's close to home, it has a good graphic design program, and I'm almost positive I could get in. I'm picking it because people expect me to have a decision made, and it's an easy one to make.

Thing is, as comfortable as I feel having at least picked a school and a major, I'm still afraid of making it official. I'm only sixteen, I shouldn't have to make these decisions yet! I'm still a kid. I'm tired of everyone wanting me to have a plan for the future when I just want to enjoy the present. I spent my entire childhood wanting to be an adult and now that everyone else wants me to be one, I suddenly feel like I just want to be young forever. If this summer kept going forever, I'd be perfectly happy. I just want to keep chilling right here and never have to face my fears about 11th grade.

2 comments:

jolie fille said...

You'll be fine! You really DON'T have to have it all figured out right now, I promise. And I picked a safe school and a random major and even though things didn't go the way I thought they would, I had a great time and am super happy with life right now, so no worries. We should discuss this soon, I think I have answers for you : )

Rachelle said...

Hey btw that comment was from me. I don't know where that username came from...I signed in on google. Think it's fixed now!

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