For me, figuring out what I wanted to do with my life was never difficult. From a young age, I fell in love with writing and telling stories. I always loved the way words come together to tell love stories and fairytales and move you to worlds and people that you would never have the opportunity to explore otherwise.
Ironically, I wasn’t a fan of the first couple of books I picked up. When I was three or four I would cry whenever my mom told me it was time to read a book and hated reading unless my mom or dad were reading out loud to my brother and me. It wasn’t until I was around seven when I picked up my first fantasy novel, “Keeper of the Lost Cities” by Shannon Messenger, that I fell in love with reading. The book transported me in a way I didn’t know books were capable of and made me feel all the emotions that the main character was experiencing.
It was then that I realized the power of books and the written word. Around fifth grade, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel. An idea formed in my head and I was desperate to write it down. The “book” was around 40 pages, but for a fifth grader, I felt pretty on top of the world at having completed something of that magnitude. My second draft was written in seventh grade ending at around 60,000 words and finally, in my sophomore year of high school, I was able to complete my third and final draft, coming in at around 98,000 words (400 pages). Although my attempts at writing the great American novel have yet to amount to anything tangible other than a multitude of pages, I know one day with the skills and education I’m receiving at UC Berkeley I’ll be able to write the book I’ve waited my whole life to tell.
I think it’s both a blessing and a curse to have something you feel so passionate about that you want your whole life to reflect it. I have been dreaming about sharing my words with the world for as long as I can remember and to do anything else would make me feel incomplete, thus I know I have to keep chasing the dream I have built my whole life around.
Despite figuring out what I want to do so young, I have known many people to feel lost in the sea of majors and careers that higher education offers. Law school? Masters program? Bachelor’s degree? Nothing seems to be enough yet at the same time the sheer amount of schooling makes you feel as though life is passing you by quicker than you ever expected. Figuring out what you want to do and how you want to execute that plan is a long road for everyone.
Sometimes when school feels lonely and grueling I wonder what I’m doing all of it for. Authors don’t need a bachelor’s or master’s degree, yet I still feel the need to apply to top creative writing programs in the hopes that it can help me reach the level of success I yearn for. In truth, I don’t know if any of this helps at all, especially in creative career paths like mine, however I do know that figuring out what you want to do and pursuing your dreams takes time, effort, and hard work. No matter how lost you feel, I truly believe everyone has the potential to find something they’re passionate about and to go about pursuing what makes them the happiest. Who knows, maybe one day while you’re succeeding, you’ll stumble across one of my books on the shelf and think about this moment in time.