Quarter life crises have a way of sneaking up on you when you least expect it. Mere credits away from graduation, I decided that my major was all wrong, I’d never get a job and my entire life was in shambles.
It all started when the supervisor at my summer internship said she wanted to have a “talk” with me. Let’s call this dream-crusher Linda.
I have been interning at my local art museum for two semesters now, and like any bright-eyed, totally lost college kid, I plan to continue interning every day of my damn life until I get out of here. My position with Linda in the museum’s Education Department basically entails keeping glue sticks out of preschoolers’ noses during art-crafting activities.
So when it became time to fill out my intern application for the upcoming fall, I felt ready to step away from the nursery rhymes and get closer to the art. I handed in my application for a position in the Curatorial Department with a puppy-dog eagerness that lasted for about ten minutes.
Linda sat me down and— with as much compassion as she could muster— broke it to me that I had no chance of getting the curatorial position because I wasn’t majoring or minoring in art history: My major in English and double minor in studio art and education wasn’t going to make the cut.
She tried to cheer me up, assuring me that an education minor was sure to land me another position in the museum. Sitting across from her under the harsh illumination of fluorescent lights, I tried to maintain my resting nice face. The truth was, I had decided to pursue an education minor as a backup plan in case my bigger aspirations of working in the art world didn’t work out.
That’s when it hit me. My safety route was actually deterring me away from my dream. I knew I didn’t want anything to do with a classroom full of snot-nosed high school punks, so WHY was I wasting my college education getting a teaching certification? Clearly, I was in the midst of an identity crisis and I needed the one woman who knows me better than I know myself: my mother. I packed my bags, and headed home.
That Saturday night, my mom and I sat on the back porch discussing my future, enjoying the summer humidity and maybe one too many glasses of wine. Being the over-zealous worrywart that I am, I sat scribbling on twenty sheets of looseleaf paper, devising a plan to squeeze out my ideal degree within my final two semesters of college. In the haste of my neurosis, my mother suddenly chirped, “What if you just continued to major in English and minor in studio art and leave it at that?” Graduating from college with a major in English and a minor in studio art would for sure guarantee me a career as a fry cook.
Beginning college as a photography major and later switching to English made me all too familiar with my reputation as “most likely to become a homeless hippie” amongst my STEM-major friends. I was desperate to find that secret ingredient that would make my resume more legit. But I was also desperate to maintain my sanity and, I don’t know, possibly lead a life that wasn’t dictated by a syllabus itinerary.
Sure, I could find another major or minor to squeeze in before I graduated. But it meant taking way more credits each semester than I was used to…which would probably make my GPA go down…and I could forget about getting a part-time job… so I could also plan on being poor.
While I tried to convince myself that the stress would be worth it in the long run, I couldn’t help but feel like I was letting my resume— a piece of paper— take away my happiness. When I remembered my sophomore year, a lightning bolt realization hit me: I had no idea what I was doing when I switched my major to English.
All I knew was that I didn’t like my current major and an English major would make an easy transition, considering I had a ton of AP credits from high school. I went for the switch and before I knew it, being an English major was the long-awaited Transformation Tuesday I needed.
I walked out of my classes almost every day feeling like a trillion freaking bucks. Seriously. I felt enlightened, inspired and completely fulfilled in a way I never imagined. When I remember my sophomore year, I remember a girl who wasn’t afraid of living in the moment; a girl who wasn’t afraid of trusting herself. I looked around at my scraps of scribbled plans and I wondered when I became so scared. And that was when I made my decision.
Sure, I don’t know what my future holds— not many college kids do. But what I know now is that being an English major with a minor in studio art is exactly what I’m supposed to be. That night, I realized I don’t need another line on my resume to get me where I want to be in life. What I need is room in my schedule to take electives outside of my comfort zone. What I need is free time to read books that my courses don’t offer. What I need is to treat myself like Kanye treats Kanye— taking my learning experience into my own hands.