Just tuning in? Read Part One here!
As part of the writing program at Northwestern (at least when I attended), students had to apply for admission. To meet the application requirements, students had to take certain English major/writing pre-reqs. My freshman year, I knew that I wanted this. I took some basic courses and an English seminar fall quarter, then dove into the pre-reqs.
Overall, they were awful. I encountered some boring curriculum, some not-so-great faculty, and some super obnoxious students. By contrast, the Gender Studies classes were totally up my alley – thought-provoking discussion, interesting students, and instructors who wanted to challenge you (and make sure you challenged your own perceptions).
I didn’t fight it. I just accepted that Gender Studies made me happy. And frankly, I wanted to study something that I loved, and that wouldn’t be a burden. I didn’t want to work for it.
…Make of that what you will.
I also thought, rather foolishly, that if I wanted to be a writer then I didn’t need to study it. I was a brilliant writer, and I didn’t need someone to teach me all that. Now that I’m older, I know the truth: you fight for what you want. Hard. You think you have natural talent? Build on it. You might learn that at seventeen years, your natural talent is a figment of your imagination. You might learn you have no idea what you’re doing. You might learn how to build relationships in your ideal industry. You might learn to network. You might learn the nuances of your field.
You might, to be blunt, learn a whole lot if you open your eyes, your mind, and your heart.
I’m just saying: if you’re seventeen and reading this, just think or meditate or pray on it. And I’m not saying don’t believe in yourself. I’m saying believe that you can be a better you.
So I did the History and Gender Studies route in college. My lifelong love of books cast aside for analytical papers, heated discussions, and theory.
Why didn’t I become a librarian? It didn’t cross my mind. I was so anti-literature and writing, I just went for something awesome that would involve reading, critical thinking, and effective communication.
Do I regret it?
To be continued…