Dear Future Self,
I made a huge life-altering decision. I'm sure you're well-aware of this already, but I'm not. So bare with me. After talking to some people and reflecting on recent events, I finally asked myself some very difficult questions – questions that I was unable to think through on my own and unwilling to ask myself. These questions fell along the lines of…What am I doing here in college? What do I really want to be doing? What are the pros and cons of being in school? What are my options? How will I make a decision? How will this affect my future plans? And lastly, WHY ARE THERE SO MANY DAMN QUESTIONS THAT I NEED TO ANSWER AT THE AGE OF 19? Really difficult questions at that...
That was an intense night of self-reflection and caffeine. All joking aside, however, I realized that I am...an anomaly. I don't fit into the system. I don't fit into a mold of anything resembling "typical," and it's high time that I finally accept this fact. It's not a good thing or a bad thing. It just is. So, I have decided to embrace my anomalousness and forge my own path in life – starting with college.
Although I love the University of Texas at Austin, I've decided that the opportunity cost of staying here for 4 years is not worth it. With that said, I have chosen to graduate early, as in December 2014. I am still shaping my own experiences, however, by coming up with my own academic curriculum, one that will allow me to get everything that I want from college: a Bachelor of Art in French, a minor in Portuguese, a minor in Advertising, and an entrepreneurship certificate. All in a total of 2.5 years in school of course. Challenge accepted. Don't worry, I'll enjoy both the journey and the destination.
A worry that I have been battling with, though, is this: if I want to go into branding, communication, advertising, etc., shouldn't I get a degree in that? Well, I think a degree is only as good as what you choose to do with it. Personally, I would rather learn by doing – like learning how to run a business by starting one – and fight my battles outside instead of inside the classroom. It's how I learn best. That's not to say that I know everything. I don't. There are huge gaps in my knowledge and skills, and I would love it if my college education helped me out. But, at the end of the day, I can pursue real-world experiences that will fill in those blanks faster.
Another thought I had was that some people need college to find themselves socially and emotionally. Am I ready to bypass that extra time? Am I really prepared to take on the world early? Well, here's what I think. I love people, so that part won't be a problem. And, when it comes to thinking of myself as an individual, I have a strong sense of self. I understand who I am and what I want out of life. Also, is there a way to measure how ready you are for the real world? An empirical scale of adaptability? I don't think so. I think that most people entering the "real world" are scared as hell. No one is fully prepared for what life will bring. But they do it anyways.
So, what I've discovered is that I don't fit into the traditional mold... But should I want to? Are there things that I will miss out on by leaving college early? Yes. But what will 3 more semesters really do for me? I can't possibly imagine the future at this moment, but I guess I'll find out when I get there. Que sera, sera. Knowing myself, though, I know that I'll write my own compelling story, blaze my own trail, and do it in an irrefutably awesome way. In the words of Kid President, "The world needs you to stop being boring...Anybody can do that. But you're gooder than that." I am gooder than that.
Am I scared? Yes. In fact, I'm terrified. But, at the end of the day, I know I can do this. I know who I am, and I know what I'm capable of. My limits are my own.
I want to end this letter by retelling a moment that happened a few weeks ago. I don't know if you remember this – you know, what with being in the distant future and all – but, during this turbulent time of retrospection and big girl decision-making, I was studying at the SSB. I was trying to focus on Portuguese and put my bag of emotions aside for the moment, when I looked up at the wall and saw a motivational poster – one that just happened to be relevant to my life. It said, "You cannot discover new oceans until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore..."
So...here's to discovering new oceans.