Dreams That Keep Me Up

Monday, November 14, 2016

“I got dreams that keep me up in the dead of night
Telling me I wasn't made for the simple life”

These are lyrics from the song HAPPINESS by NEEDTOBREATHE (listen to the acoustic version it's amazing). These words hit home every time I hear the song. I've been wanting to make a blog post about my experience with college for a while now. When this song came on the radio on my way home from class I knew today was the day!

Some of you guys are the lucky ones. You know what you're called to be. You need a degree for it. Your steps to get there are set in stone. You guys are the person I would like to be. But for some reason I am not. For some reason God has only revealed my future calling a bit at a time. Sometimes it feels like I'm going through life completely blind because I don't have a list or a plan in front of me. I guess this blog post is a little bit about my journey through that. I know most of you don't care to read a blog post solely about me, but even if there is one person out there reading this that is struggling with their future, with the thought of college, with what they're supposed to do with their life, this post is for you. 

I'll begin with a little background. I graduated in 2015 and I decided to live at home and attend community college. For as long as I can remember I've never wanted to go to college. I was against the thought entirely. But I found myself going simply because I ran out of time to find an alternative. I didn't want to be working full time at a minimum wage job that wasn't going to benefit my future. I didn't want to be a bum sitting at home doing nothing with my life. But I also didn't want to be at college. I applied for an honors scholarship and I ended up getting it. So I took it as a sign that it was the right thing for me. It paid for everything, even down to the books. So I accepted it and enrolled as a full time photography student. I was required to finish my associates in two years or I had to pay back the scholarship. Now yes, this seems reasonable. It IS a two year school, that is it's purpose and it is possible. But I was not happy with the pace I was moving at. I was consumed by deadlines and assignments that I was only doing to get a grade, not to learn from. I didn't have time to give my all to each class and learn everything I needed to. I had no time or opportunities to apply what I was learning outside of school, and that's important for me considering I was going into an art field. If you're reading this and you're overloaded with school work you're probably scoffing at me for saying this. But that is not how I learn and I decided it's not how I have to live. Being so overwhelmed by this led to asking myself, is this really what I'm supposed to be doing? Do I even need a degree for photography?! I chose to seek knowledge from photography professors and they basically told me I needed a degree to be successful in photography. But can I say that their response had to have been a bit biased? They worked for the school and of course want me to receive an education there. I also know they were people who grew up during the time where college was just what you do and there's no other choice. They didn't really give me a fresh perspective. So I took their very (outdated) opinions into consideration but also did my own research and came to the conclusion that I myself did not need a degree for photography and that I would not be working towards one anymore. That was decided, but it was not the end. That whole ordeal led to asking myself a new question, is photography really what I want to do in life? Do I want that to be my career?

I didn't. And I don't.

Of course it will always be one of my passions and hobbies but it's simply not meant to be the career path I go down. After this realization I knew I had to find a way out. I was stuck in this scholarship where I had to finish my degree in two years so there was no time to change majors even if I knew what I would switch to. By this time it was Christmas break, I had finished my first semester and I hadn't yet signed up for spring 2016 classes. So I decided that I was going to drop out. Like, not just take a semester off. FULLY DROP OUT AND NEVER GO BACK kind of drop out. At this point I had even less of an idea of where my life was headed. And I didn't have a plan B (okay, at this point it was more like plan H). So I dropped out of my scholarship, didn't go back to school, and started nannying a bit.

About halfway through the spring semester I finally knew what I wanted to do with my life. (Thanks to Gilmore Girls s/o to Luke Danes) (Also s/o to the Lord who worked through a TV show) I decided to stop being a college dropout and go back for Small Business Management to pursue my dream of being my own boss (!!!), have my own business, and hopefully someday have my own diner!

“There's a light I see but it's far in the distance”

Next year will most likely be my third year at a two-year college and that's okay. I'm only a part time student right now and I'm only going to attend part time next semester too. I'm far behind. I'm really far behind. But this is the pace that is right for me.

My reasoning for doing it this way is so I'm not dedicating the next four years entirely to school to be left with nothing but a piece of paper. Four years without any experience, four years without any time to let God work through me and my passions.

This, of course, is not the same for everyone. For some people, school will give them those things. But like I said, my career is going to be based around my passions. Art, photography, food, this blog, things I need to be working on right now. Right this second. I was made to create. These are all things that I cannot learn in a classroom. What I am learning in school about business is valuable. So very much so. But so are the things I am doing outside of school. The things that I'm trying and the things I am failing at. Learning from trial and error and experience. Being vulnerable and putting myself out there right now instead of waiting until the safety of school is no longer.

It's terrifying to have aspirations that are not guaranteed. 

It's hard to be confident about this way of doing things when there's no set in stone plan in front of me. But at the end of the day I know that this is the right thing for me. Society has wired us to think that college is something that we need in order to succeed. Maybe some do. But if you're questioning it, I urge you to pray about it. To try out different things. To leave yourself time to dive into what you're passionate about. Be patient with the process. If you don't know what you want to do in life, you have time. You have so much time. Throw out the idea that you should know by now. Throw it as far as you can. Give yourself the time you need to become what God has called you to be. 

God gave me those feelings about college for a reason, He gave me my desires and passions for a reason. He took what seemed like forever to show me what they are for a reason. If you're going through something similar, there is a reason.

Let your dreams wake you up at night. And pay attention if you have the feeling that you're not meant to do things the way everyone else does them. If this sounds like you, you're not alone and you have my support.


  1. Just saw this post right now, and I can relate sooo so much. Love your perspective!! :)

    1. Thanks so much Laura! It's always great to know I'm not the only one out there feeling this way!


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