I Couldn't do it, how could I make myself love a job I hated? Especially when the two careers I really wanted to pursue seemed so close yet so far away? All I had to do was pick up a pencil and start writing. I'd even been accepted into Emory University in Atlanta and The University of Virginia in...Virginia. I wanted nothing to do with MIT, but my parents had different views on that matter.
I sighed and looked out the window as I drummed my pencil on my desk and completely ignored the professor at the front of the room, lecturing about calculations I could barely do anyway. Unfortunately that would be the only thing this pencil was good for today: taking notes, calculating elaborate problems...doodling?
My notebook had plenty of room for doodling. I drew a stick figure. The figure had short plain hair like me, she was wearing a simple "stick mini skirt". She was a pretty ordinary stick figure as far as ordinary stick figures go--which isn't that far But she was holding up a piece of paper. Her smile seemed to glow so bright it shined through the paper, but maybe that was just me. The girl was proud of her work, scribbled on a piece of scrap paper during a hasty lunch break.
I looked up at all the other students around me, the ones that actually took this seriously. I looked back down at my pathetic masterpiece. Back up at the students...Back down. Out of all the people here, out of everyone I knew, there was just one--just one single soul--who knew the story behind this simple drawing. A simple drawing in the corner of an otherwise mostly empty notebook, belonging to a quiet girl in the back of a class that she didn't want to be in. Just one person knew the story, the inspiration...the passion... But that's all it took to make it meaningful.
That's why, Mom and Dad, I feel like I have to continue writing, take my knowledge of this to a whole new level. Don't get me wrong, I know that my parents are looking out for me, and I really do appreciate it. They want me to be able to support a future family, become a doctor or lawyer or something. But the only two things on Earth I really want to do is write and change the world. I know I can't make a living off of being an author, that's why when I was very little I decided I would also be an ecologist. I can inspire people through my writing and make the world a better place at the same time.
And I'll never end up in the poor house, no matter how much money I have. Because I'll always have what I need with me: family, love, inspiration, and most importantly: my passionate obsession. And that would mean the world to me.
To anyone else it might just be a hobby, a favorite pass time, or maybe they don't care. But it means something to me. And if it means something to me, a nobody, a young girl merely trying to find her way, then it's meaningful. And if it's meaningful then it's important. Even if it's only important to one person it's still important and therefore it's worth living for. I can't take it any more, I thought. I have to get out of here. And then class ended.
Over the semester my grades began to decline, despite my genuine efforts to keep them up. But it seemed like whenever I should be studying I was writing poem after poem, word after word. And when I was supposed to be paying attention in class, it was all I could do to not think about what I was missing out on. I would stay up late at night searching the websites of colleges I wanted to go to, had even been accepted to.
After a few weeks of telling my parents that my grades were dropping and that I was working as hard as I could I received a call from them. I let the answering machine get it. It was exactly like you'd expect. They love me, they are proud of me, they are worried about school. They know I'm upset about my future as an engineer, but I need to try harder or they can't help me through school. Call them when I get this.
And that was when I broke down. Sobbing on my floor, papers and textbooks scattered around me, I thought of what I should tell my parents. I didn't know what I would tell them because I didn't know what I would do. Obviously I can't stay like this, pushing myself to do something that I can't. Pulling myself away from something that seems to be dragging me in.
But how can I just drop out of college? How can I disappoint my parents like that? They have dedicated so much time, money and effort for me to be here. How can I just quit?
How can you stay here? I began to argue with myself. How can you bring your grades up when you can't pay attention in class? When you know that it would be so simple to do the things you love? When you know how disappointed you will be if you don't go and live your dream life? Nothing will ever be perfect but you will never be happy here either I can't. That's the only answer, the only answer to all of these questions. I can't leave; but as much as I can't leave, I can't stay here. And I can't be happy here, and I can't be happy anywhere but there. But what needs to happen? Why should I stay here and follow my parents dream for me? They want me to be able to be happy in the future--so why don't they know the only way I can be happy is by following my dreams?
So that's the answer? Follow my dreams? What other options do I have?
Ok then I guess I'll call my parents and tell them, I thought as I reached for the phone. Then I hesitated as a smile tugged at the corners of my lips. No, I won't call them I'll write them a letter And that's what I did. I wrote them a letter that I will never regret. First I told them how much I loved them and how grateful I was for them, might as well try to soften the blow by telling them the truth. Next I explained I couldn't concentrate when I was studying or when the professor was speaking, I had verses running through my head. I had a whole library of books that I hoped to write up there as well. I needed to choose my own path, I hoped they could understand and I'll tell them when my first novel was published.
I stuffed the note in an envelope, slapped a stamp on it and addressed it to my home in Washington D.C. With that taken care of I felt much better. I thought of packing my things up and writing a letter to one of the schools I had picked out. But it was already 1:30 in the morning and I was exhausted, plus I thought I might have to think about which one I would actually go to The next day as I packed my bags I decided Emory University was a good choice for me. First I would major in creative writing and later my other dream job as an ecologist at a different university. It was going to be tough with not a lot of help from my family, if any. Many years of dedication, time, and a lot of cha-ching. I took on three jobs, helped other students out with there reports as needed, charged five extra bucks for each soiled diaper when babysitting parents precious angels. I tried to come out of it with as little debt as possible, unfortunately, that was still quite a large amount of dough.
But it all played off when I was able to e-mail my parents a copy of my very first novel, a mystery called The Side Effects of Babysitting. Inspired by my many misadventures with those precious angels I mentioned. I got a letter from them that said they were very proud of me. They were glad I followed my dreams and they would see me when I graduated.
I broke down in tears as I read that letter. But this time it wasn't because I was scared or upset, it was because I too was proud. I was proud of my parents. And I was proud I followed my passionate obsession.