I’m sitting in my bed at night, trying to think of new ways to procrastinate, and suddenly sharing this news with you stroke me as something I urgently needed to do.
I’ve got Ultraviolence on and I’m ready to tell the story of how I took a step into figuring out my future.
So last year, around this time, I finally stumbled upon a profession that I felt fit me.
Architecture. Artistic, but still a usual and respected profession. “What do you want to be? An architect”, and that ended the conversation. No questions. An expected career for a top student.
Fuck it. Honestly. Fuck being a top student, for all the good it has done me. It singled me out as a ‘nerd’ for years, only because I had better grades than everyone else. Put a ton of pressure on me to stay up to par with my standard grades, and set my parents’ expectations to staggering heights. Made me force myself into picking a profession I thought ‘complemented’ my ‘intelligence’, as if intelligence equals science.
So there I was, telling everyone I finally found what I wanted to do with my life, telling myself that I made the right decision. I mean I get to draw buildings for people and be creative! No matter that I know absolutely nothing about drawing and have no talent in it whatsoever! Right?
Wrong. I was constantly convincing myself that it was alright, reading testimonies from people reassuring us that knowing how to draw is not essential to being an architect but ‘it helps’, trying to imagine myself working in an architecture firm and enjoying it somehow.
I elaborated this smart reply to every question:
‘What do you want to do?’
‘What do I want or what I will do? I want to study literature, but of course that’s not an option, so I’ll do architecture because it seems like something I’d not hate a lot.’
Why I was brushing off literature? Well our education system divides students into 4 categories: Math-oriented, Biology-oriented, Economics-oriented and Literature-oriented. Or as our society classes them, the Genius class, the Doctors class, the Lazy class and the Weird class. My grades obligated me to pick one of the two former. Why waste my intelligence on literature?
That’s why I went with the Math section, and brushed off any thought of literature studies, even though I had one passion in life and that was reading. What happened to ‘doing what I love’? That meant nothing. Society says I must be an Engineer, or a Physicist, or a Mathematician. Literature? Leave it to those who can’t do math.
And now, having almost completed my General Science year, I can affirm that the most times I had to actually think and use my intelligence was during literature tests.
I swear to God, anyone can do math. Anyone can do physics. Not anyone can read a text and understand and analyze it correctly. That’s rare intelligence.
But I am glad I did what I did. I am proud of my choices so far. I couldn’t be prouder. General Science was a bore and a pain in the ass, but it eventually helped me see clearly what it is I had to do.
It happened in the middle of this school year, during our mid year exams. It was sunday morning, a day before our Chemistry test, and I found I had not written almost half of our course. I texted my friends and asked them to send me what I was missing. Never in a million years would I have guessed that in that moment, I had also asked them to tell me what I was going to study in college.
‘Why haven’t you written any of this?’
‘I’ve been absent.’
‘Why have you been skipping school so often? Do you think you’re better than the rest of us? We really don’t enjoy school either but we don’t just stay home whenever we feel like it.’
‘Save your sermons. Does it look like I care anymore about fucking school?’
‘And why is that?’
‘Because I’m going to spend years studying something I really don’t fucking have a clue about, and my life is probably going to end up screwed.’
‘Whow. Where is this coming from? You don’t want architecture?’
‘I don’t know what I want.’
‘Just do what you love doing.’
‘Easy for you to say. You love technology. Your options and endless. I love books, what am I supposed to do with that?’
‘I don’t know, be an editor or something.’
Has it ever happened to you? Have you ever read a single word that ended up changing everything, turning your whole life path 180 degrees?
That word alone, thrown nonchalantly, was enough to open my eyes. It might seem too straightforward to be believable, but that’s how it happened.
Do what I love. What do I love? I love writing. What do I love more than writing? Correcting people’s writing. That’s an actual profession. Studying literature is not just an abstract thing. I can actually do something with my life that I can enjoy.
And if my disastrous experience as a bartender this summer taught me anything, it’s that doing a job I do not enjoy is not worth any salary in the world. I made a vow to myself, that I’d never work unless I was satisfied, and here I am, fulfilling my vow.
‘Editor. Yes. That’s what I’m going to do. Oh my God.’
‘Okay so maybe not editor but there are lots of things you could do!’ He thought I was being sarcastic.
In truth, I was standing there, in the middle of my room, eyes wide open and staring into nothing, thinking. This is not a far fetched theory. This is real. This actually could happen. This is not a joke. This is my future. This is NOT a joke. This is a REAL solution. WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING ALL THIS TIME? WHY DID IT TAKE ME SO LONG TO REALIZE?
Writing this right now, I’m thinking of ways to word this that will not make me sound like an idiot. But the truth is that I really was an idiot. I made myself renounce doing what I wanted to do, and for what reason? Literally, what reason? I was torturing myself over nothing. Nothing. All it took was a single word, and here I was, reevaluating my entire future.
I had my reasons to go with General Science. But after that, it’s just me, and my school grades will stay marked on some report card in the confines of my documents. After that, every move bears consequences. I was inches away from making myself go into a field I had no business being in. And just like that, I decided it would be Literature after all. There really are no valid reasons I hadn’t even considered that until that moment.
I honestly feel like laughing at myself. Nobody does what I did. I was just so stupid it’s hilarious. Writing it down makes it feel so, so much more obvious.
Yep. Just like that. I decided I was going to be an English major! It happened in a matter of hours, and my whole life lit up. I was in bliss. I could not care less about the Chemistry test, or any tests. I was going to do what I wanted. I was going to read for a living. I was going to have time to do the things I love doing, including blogging, which you *may* have noticed I have been seriously behind with.
I told my parents that evening that I was going to change direction. They were pretty shocked, but nevertheless encouraged me and sensed how happy it made me.
The next day, I went to the college I had applied to and changed my major from Architecture to English. I expectedly got pretty surprised looks, like they couldn’t believe someone with 780 on their Math SAT was going to study English (like the fact I got 730 on the English section did not matter). But they also encouraged me saying I had made a good choice, as tons of people were going with Architecture and Engineering and soon there would be no jobs left for them. I was so satisfied.
And now, every time someone asks me what I would do with my future, I put on a broad, honest smile and proudly tell them I am going to study literature. They ask questions, and I happily reply ‘that’s what I love to do’.
I’m still not used to the idea. Every time I feel down, I recite it to myself like a mantra: I’m an English major. I’m going to do what I love.