When I turned 18, I had a plan. At the time, I was going to spend two years in community college, get a 4.0 (or something close to it), spend two years at Stanford University (because I wasn’t about to go anywhere else), excel there, and then attend graduate school immediately afterward.
If y’all have been following this blog for a while, you know that those things didn’t come to fruition as I had hoped. And now, at 24, I realize how perfectly all right that is.
While I’m still sure of a lot of the same ideals and passions I had at 18 (writing, public speaking, advocacy), I find that my proclivity for simply settling into academics until 30-years-old doesn’t hold as much importance anymore. Yes, I love school and despite the tough road I have traveled just to get to my BA, I have enjoyed my journey. However, I find that so much of my self-confidence was defined by the numbers I saw on essays and tests, and that my knowledge of English Literature was only credible and valuable if my professors gave me high marks on my assignments.
It wasn’t until I finished college (somewhat– I still have five or so credits left to complete) that I started to rethink my path and where my passion truly lies. My love for English dissipated, allowing me to make room for a new vision: educational advocacy and political change within the university system. At first, this shocked me. I used to think that my path was clear from the get-go, and perhaps that was due to my naïveté as an 18-year-old and my dreamy ideal of my future sans any roadblocks (i.e. UC Davis), but now… after everything that’s happened, I am more at peace with uncertainty than I’ve ever been. My tendency to strive for perfection in a fast-moving world has been replaced with a sense of hope and resilience. I’m no longer the shy, awkward, somewhat anti-social girl that let her past experiences define her future success. Now I’m confident, fearless, uninhibited, happy and courageous. These are all adjectives I would have never used as descriptors for myself a year ago. Due to all I’ve been through, I’ve now adopted the mantra (and the mindset) of:
“If I can get through this, I can get through anything.”
So granted, I have a decent job and something to work for and look forward to and I know I still want to write and speak, motivate and advocate, but for the first time in a long time, even though I won’t give up on my writing dreams, I don’t necessarily know where my path will take me and for the first time, that doesn’t bother me. And it shouldn’t bother you, either. Just because you don’t get accepted to your dream school, score that internship, or land that dream job and someone else does, does not indicate your future successes. Everyone has the ability to reach their goals and make their dreams a reality, so just because you aren’t where you want to be right now, doesn’t mean you won’t get there soon, when the time is right. That sounds cliché, I know. However, if there’s anyone who can advocate for that mentality, it’s me. On the journey toward finding out who you are, the biggest favor you can do for yourself is to trust your journey and trust yourself. Everything will be okay.