When you come to the fork in the road, what do you do? Well, I feel like I might be at that fork in the road, and honestly, I have no clue what to do. It seems like I’ve had my whole life planned out since I was a little kid, and so far it has gone mostly according to plan. I’m not really sure that I know what to do if I step outside that plan.
I always saw myself graduating from high school, getting a scholarship, and going to a good college, getting my degree and then going on and getting a job in whatever field I chose to get my degree in. Well, I’ve done half of those. I graduated, got my scholarship, and I’m going to a good school.
I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to do when I started college. I thought about becoming a teacher, mainly because it is what my grandparents both did, and what I had always wanted to do since I was little. I also thought about event planning and various other things but I really wasn’t sure. I had always really wanted to do something art related, because I’ve always loved art and creativity, but I didn’t know what art related jobs were out there. It wasn’t until my first semester of college that one of my classes went on a little field trip to this tiny little bookbinding shop, where this graphic designer was showing some of her work that she had done in the layout of this new book that they were doing about New Orleans. I fell in love from the start. I remember looking at the book that she was working on and thinking that her art looked so cool and it had a practical purpose and that was what I wanted to do too.
Here’s the catch. Tulane doesn’t have a program for graphic design. I have a scholarship to go to Tulane. I moved to New Orleans to go to Tulane. Drew moved to New Orleans and transferred to UNO so I could go to Tulane.
I thought about it for the next semester, wondering how I could make it work. I looked into the programs that Tulane offered, hoping that surely in the degree listings that I had missed it somewhere. I met with my academic advisor. She couldn’t have been less helpful. She told me that I was at an esteemed research university. Not a trade school. If I wanted to study graphic design then I should have gone to a trade school. Not to Tulane.
I left confused. I’m still confused and its a year later. I decided to stick it out. Study English since that’s what I’d already started in. I added an Art Studio minor, thinking that if I wanted to go to art school for graphic design later that it would help. I got an internship last summer with a graphic design company to get some real experience and see what I would really do as a designer. I loved it.
But it is so hard for me to stay focused on school when I don’t really understand why I’m here. I want to get a degree and here someone is paying for me to get one, so that’s why I’m here. But I can’t study what I want to. But what is the point of school if I’m not studying what I want to do. I’m in the teacher certification program and my major is English, but I don’t want to teach. I want to have my own graphic design business (which Drew and I already have started) and I want to eventually have my own little boutique where I sell handmade things.
That doesn’t relate to English or Teacher Certification at all. I’m not saying that I haven’t learned anything by being here. I’ve learned a lot. I appreciate everything that Tulane has given me. But I don’t know what to do now. I feel stuck. I hate school. I’ve always loved school my whole life. But I hate school now. I have so much to do and I’m so stressed all the time, sometimes I’m up all night long finishing my work, and why? To get a degree that I’m not even going to use because its not in what I want to do?
I feel stretched too thin. My classes take up all my energy and wear me out. But at the same time, I can’t focus on them. I’m not motivated. I don’t have enough time to get all my work done. I work my butt off and sometimes I still can’t make the grades I want to make. It was really bad last semester of last year. This year it has gotten a little better because of the art classes, which I enjoy. But I’m getting worn out of school altogether and I still have two years left.
I can’t stand college. I don’t like the structure of it. I don’t like the stereotypes. I don’t understand the reasoning behind the stress and the pressure and the insanity. I can’t stand teachers that give inhuman amounts of work and expect you to get it all done, thinking that their class is the only one that you have. What about the other five that are also demanding your attention? I find myself getting distracted with wanting to work on designing things, working on ideas for our business, I want to be creative. I sit in class trying to figure out what I’m going to cook for dinner. I’m searching for structure, for stability.
I hate living in a dorm room, not having a real home. I just don’t fit in. I don’t drink. I don’t party. I don’t think that my career is the absolute number one most important thing in my life. I don’t have any friends here. People look at me like I’m crazy for coming from a small town, for having values, for thinking that family is important, for being in a serious relationship, for wanting to get married, for being domestic, for wanting to be a designer.
I was at this same place a year ago. I wanted to study design, but resigned myself to staying here and sticking with what I started. But is that really the best thing to do? I don’t want to be stupid and give up my full-ride scholarship. But it only applies to certain schools. Research universities. Not art schools and trade schools. I have a whole life in New Orleans now. Drew has a whole life in New Orleans now. He has school and two jobs. I like our life here. I just don’t like what I’m studying and I feel like I’m wasting my time. I’m sick of school, but I want a degree. I thought about studying graphic design after graduating from Tulane, but I don’t know that I’ll have the energy for any more school after I make it through here. Plus if I’m going to pay to do it later, why not just pay to do it now?
Trust me, I’ve thought this through for the past year about every way I possibly could. But I still don’t know what to do. I’m not a big risk-taker. I’m not the one to leave the path. I probably will stick it out and finish my degree here because its what I should do. I don’t know what else to do. Where do I go from here?