I started writing this column as a spur of the moment decision. I saw an ad on Facebook, and just wrote a short, 600-word essay about how I felt about starting college. I had some vague interest in writing, so I just did it. It was really a “sure, why the heck not” kind of thing.
Over time, writing this column became a platform for me to get better at expressing how I really feel about things. “Things” that matter to me, things that I really want to say. And people listen. From as trivial as still-misaligned sprinklers, to struggling to be the best version of myself, every column I’ve written in the past 24 issues of The Stute has meant a lot to me and has, almost surreally, impacted people. What are the pressing issues that students or just my friends want to hear about? What are my opinions on them? I received a lot of great feedback, from students, faculty, and administrators alike since my first column back in August. The spur of the moment decision to apply to be a columnist opened doors for me. I even found a best friend through this process (she used to read my column while working at the library). Random people that I don’t know seem to know bits and pieces of my personality based on my opinions and short stories. And they relate. Or maybe they hate it. But it’s okay because my writing makes them feel something.
When I was in high school, I really wanted to be an artist. I wanted to go to an art school called CalArts really badly to study animation. So I worked super hard, and out of nothing, became pretty good at art. I didn’t take lessons since I was four, I wasn’t the artist in my grade. But I liked something, had a goal, and pursued that goal without hesitation or fear. Those were simpler times. When it came time to look for “real options”, people in my classes were looking at Ivies, big state schools, studying topics like engineering or medicine. They wanted to change the world. Or maybe make money, I don’t know.
Anyway, their goals seemed more meaningful than mine, and my hobby of nude drawing on Tuesday nights didn’t feel like it had career potential. I didn’t have enough confidence in myself, my art, my ambition and drive to become successful and not a starving artist. Even if they hated studying the sciences, at least they wouldn’t live as a poor person.
I think my biggest fear was taking such a big risk, and not being rewarded for it. I didn’t want to regret. When the stakes are low, it’s easy to get invested. But when you start to have to make choices, give up other things for something, you start to question what you really like and what things you really live for. My friend who went to art school, I’m sure she thinks I’m shallow and insecure because I backed out and quit. But to me family, security, and simple, everyday luxuries were more meaningful than “pursuing my passion”, or changing the world with my art. It would be incredible, so incredible if I could do that. But for now, I’m just trying to get through school, study marketing because I really do like it, and keep doing small things that I enjoy. And trying new things all the time. Because new experiences allow you to have more stories and a better understanding of the world you live in.
This is why I really like writing. Not essays or school projects, but daily journaling of thoughts or creative writing. Writing is like a window to someone’s soul, I feel. Their subconscious controls the words they choose to use and the things they choose to talk about. It reveals who they are and what they believe in. I sometimes re-read old columns in hopes to figure out who I am and what it is that I believe in. But it’s a bit challenging to judge on my own.
I think I’m okay though. I did a lot this year, and I’m lucky the way things turned out. I like the clubs I joined, and I like the people I met and became friends with. I truly pushed myself to my 120%, between The Stute, CPAC, and APO. I couldn’t have done better. I don’t mind that I skipped classes to eat with friends, or slept an extra hour in the morning. Every choice I made was because I thought it was the best use of my time. I couldn’t draw as much as I wanted or go shopping with my savings. It was a high investment, completely putting a hold to the life that I was so comfortable and familiar with. But I spent that time and money doing things that I feel so happy about, and definitely, don’t regret.