Thursday, February 14, 2013

SAT scores are due this week...I want to talk to those of you whose verbal score is basically carrying you on to college.

There's this rumor that if you go on to study English Literature that you will both lose your passion for reading and will have no practical job to go to upon graduation. It's kind of a scary thing.

But for me, it just isn't true.

I started college as a photography major because it was the single subject in school that I enjoyed. This was before digital, mind you, but there was no place I'd rather be than in the photo lab with smelly chemicals and an enlarger. I didn't love taking the photos as much as I loved manipulating them afterward. It was magic.

And then it was obsolete.

But I switched majors in college well before the Stop Bath went down the drain. I absolutely could have carried on and learned new things and I'd have realized my dream of working for National Geographic. Maybe. But at some point, I realized photography probably wasn't practical. And maybe I wasn't good enough.

So I switched to English Literature (hahahahahahaha).

I was going to community college and paying my own way, so I didn't want input from my parents. But they were a little relieved when I explained to them that I would go on to teach or I could go into any sort of occupation requiring communication. Which is, like, EVERYTHING (feel free to use my logic when approaching parents).

But I had read most of the "classics," and thought there might be nothing better than reading all friggin' day and getting graded for it. I had opinions. I had evidence for those opinions. That was me sorted.

But I was petrified that I'd lose my joy for reading and creating. What's awesome is that my appreciation for the written word was heightened, challenged, validated, and my views simplified. It was the best thing this verbal girl could do.

My education was spread out over several years from community college (if you're thinking of this option, I would wholeheartedly encourage it depending on your location. I basically had a private college education from moonlighting professors, for $68/credit. Bargain!) to a state college to a year's study abroad in England, and ultimately finishing my degree from a little place in the Midlands.

As you're deciding your course of study, know this: you can't predict how your life will go. You might start out at a four-year college, write a book and get published before graduation. Hello, Kody Keplinger (author of The DUFF and other gems). You might switch majors for what you think is a practical reason, but probably more about passion and being true to yourself. But the important thing during college is that you're adaptable.

The important thing to remember is that you're Majoring in Life. (You know you just starred that bit of genius).

5 comments:

Kristan Hoffman said...

"I didn't love taking the photos as much as I loved manipulating them afterward. It was magic."

Very interesting and astute self-observation. In terms of photography, I loved both parts equally -- the camera and the dark room. For writing, I'm not sure. Drafting or editing? Something for me to think about...

Susan Francino said...

Thanks for this post--I need to be reminded of the sheer unpredictability of life sometimes. As terrifying as it is, it's freeing too. :)

Sarah Wedgbrow said...

Hey, thanks for commenting!!!!

Susan, thanks for finding the point in this rambling post, lol!

Krisan, my sister from another mister, I didn't even realize I was saying that I really like editing. I think I do!! xx

kaye (paper reader) said...

I don't how to reply to this mainly because I've been stressing and worrying about school and whether or not it will lead me to where I want/need to be. I'm afraid that when I graduate I won't be able to do what I love.

I'm generally an optimist, and I believe that I will get there, but sometimes the steps that make up that path are muddy and it's hard to find footing. But, you're right. We're adaptable and...you just never know what might happen. So I hope and do what I can. :)

Sarah Hipple said...

I also think it ought to be said that the years after college (as indecisive as they were for me) were some of the most interesting.

Look into AmeriCorps if you don't know what to do! (Assuming it still has funding.)

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Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.


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New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
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