I started some college prep stuff yesterday for the first time- pretty much less than a month before most deadlines. And, more importantly, it's the first time I haven't felt horribly sick while doing so.
Since I was in 7th grade, teachers and guidance counselors and other adults have been asking what I want to do with my life. "It's never too early to start thinking about it!" is what they'd always say. The issue was, I think maybe I took their preaching too seriously? I took it to heart pretty hard. Everyone else just wrote down the first career they thought of, but I agonized over it.
Why don't I know what I'm doing with my life yet? I'm already in middle school!
Why don't I know what I'm doing with my life yet? I'm already in high school!
Why don't I know what I'm doing with my life yet? I'm already getting ready to graduate!
Signing up for college prep and planning sites like Naviance, Commonapp and Clever at the ripe age of 13 did nothing to calm my nerves. I filled out career choice quizzes, I browsed colleges, but nothing looked interesting. There was nothing I wanted to devote my life to. Nothing I'd feel comfortable doing as a job.
And, god, the constant push to monetize my hobbies did NOT help. "You should be an artist, you're so good at drawing!", "You should become a game developer, you're so interested in learning to code!", "Wow, that website is crazy, have you considered being a web developer?"
Yes, I have. I've considered all of it.
I tried to monetize my art a little while back, I opened commissions on Twitter. You won't see any of my art on this site due to the fact that I try to separate myself from it here. It's not that I hate it, it's that the process is grueling and I don't enjoy it, but I don't know how else to express my feelings.
Monetizing it made me hate it more. Suddenly it went from a hobby I didn't enjoy a whole lot to something I had to strive for perfection in, because why would they pay me if it's not perfect??
I know this is a flawed chain of logic. But my point is, the push on me as a child to monetize my hobbies did not help my anxious brain with college selection. It, shockingly, made it worse. I don't want a job I hate, but I don't want to hate the things I love. I need a balance.
It got to the point where just looking at college prep materials, just hearing about deadlines and applications and career choices- it made me feel sick
I'll never forget crying in class when we had to fill out some career planning form. I started to cry. It wasn't legally binding, it was just to gauge interest in different fields among freshmen, but I cried and felt so dumb for it.
...But, the point of this is, I did it. I filled out a college application, in October of my senior year. It's after most people I know have filled theirs out. I started my FAFSA, and emailed my school's Future Planning Center to make an appointment.
I don't know what made the switch flip, and it's still all very scary, but I feel like I'm finally ready to take a few very basic steps. I chose a college that my partner is going to, it's tech-focused which is my field of study in my school's trade school. I don't have any other ideas. The school has LGBTQ+ specific housing, so I hopefully won't need to worry about being grouped with roommates of one gender of another.
Maybe I'll be okay? I still feel so behind. I haven't started my drivers' liscence yet- I got my permit, but I haven't had the time (or motivation) to actually practice driving.
I don't have a job anymore because I don't have the time for it. I don't know how kids in my marching band have jobs- I could never do it. Band alone is just way too much. I've had four days off in a row for the first time in ages and feel like a new person.
I think maybe everything will be okay.
♥ Jay(click to go back!)