When I was a kid, I used to daydream about how soon I’d be out of school. If the average American graduated high school at 18 then spent four years at college, then I would be free from school by 22. But life doesn’t always turn out the way you plan. As my dad would always say, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans for the future.”
As I neared the end of my senior year in college, I said I’d never go to grad school. I’d heard too many horror stories of people who went to grad school only to give up reading because they never wanted to touch another book again or others who had grad school completely kill their creativity. What kind of torture could possibly make anybody stop reading and writing? How could I survive? Then there was the workload. I cried after a grad student came into our senior seminar class to talk to us about what it was like to study English Literature at a master’s level.
That’s when I made up my mind I’d NEVER go to grad school. Long story short, God had other plans, and now I’m studying English Literature at the university of my choice. During my first semester, I decided I’d be creative anyway, despite what everybody else said. So what if other people found postgraduate studies to have killed their creativity? That didn’t mean it had to kill mine.
So it was that I’d spend most of the week reading for classes, stressing out on a weekly basis, and editing my novel as study breaks. That’s right. My study breaks. Yeah, sure, I’d still pick up a book every now and then, though I’d try to limit it to the weekends because I tended to get sucked into the novels and neglect my coursework until I got to the end of the book. That only lasted a semester though. Last spring, for every book I read for school, I read two for fun.
|Double rainbow during one of my many bike rides.|
Aside from all the stuff I’ve been learning in my classes, I’ve learned that my circumstances don’t have to determine what I enjoy. Just because my coursework can get pretty overwhelming doesn’t mean I should give up doing what I enjoy. No two people are alike, so why should I become less creative just because somebody else was? Life is too short to stop doing the things I’m passionate about just because I struggle with my day job as a full time student.
So if you enjoy writing or painting or whatever, go for it! Make your passions a priority. And don’t let other people determine what you can and cannot do.
While I may not have all the time in the world to write, I look forward to the day when I can write more often. Perhaps even on a daily basis. And I still look forward to graduation. As for the possibility of my studying at a doctorate level—well—it would take a miracle. But my mom always used to say God has a great sense of humor…
What are you passionate about? Were there ever times when your studies/work conflicted with your passions?