When I went to Western Washington University, I did it for some less-than-ideal reasons. I had no direction I was following and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life; I was floundering, and it was something I could concretely hook onto.
I took a year off of school in between quitting Western and starting at Portland State. I guess I had some big expectations for this gap year, and I’ve definitely gone through a lot personally that’s helped me grow, but overall it wasn’t what I expected a gap year to feel like. It felt good, but messy. Smart, but unorganized. Mostly I worked, which realistically is what the real world is like so it was probably good to take this crash course.
College is this incredibly culturally strange thing, where you suddenly turn 18 and are supposed to have enough self-knowledge and foresight to essentially decide what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. Yeah.. you can’t buy a bottle of wine at the grocery store, you’re not old enough or responsible enough yet, but feel free to decide to be a brain surgeon right now!! Don’t even worry about it!!
Yes, you have the option to change majors or transfer schools or dropout or whatever, but really, the bulk of the decision is made when you choose your school. I got incredibly lucky, both to have the wherewithal to realize I wasn’t doing what was right for me and to have the privilege and opportunity to change my mind.
A couple days ago, I committed to Portland State University starting this fall to study film. Western didn’t even have a film major, and I knew that going in. I think I want to be a producer or director, but it’s super possible that I’ll change my mind for one reason or another and subsequently maybe even change my major again (it was Visual Journalism when I was at Western), but for now, I feel settled. The jobs are here, not in a college town. The people I love, for the most part, are here. I don’t want to leave this city again, and I think that’s okay.
Anyways. I don’t have anything really groundbreaking to say today, just that it’s okay to change your mind, as many times as you need to to feel like you’re doing right by yourself. Take a gap year, think a lot, don’t rush yourself.