Who Else Wasted Their Time in College?

Oh, college. 


From a young age we are told that reaching this milestone would—or should—be one of the most important things in our lives. So, from that youngage, we think about what we want to be when we grow up; maybe even what we want to study in school. Maybe, just maybe, we think about this stage in our life at such a youngage that certain professions and expectations are placed upon us and—being so young—we aren’t sure how to think differently from it. 


At times, we tend to go in a direction and don’t even know if that’s even what we want because we’re too young; being so young, we haven’t had the time or experience to create direction. So, though college is soimportant, there are manyof us who—if given the chance—would do it all over again and have a completely different focus of study. If you are someone that feels me on the topic, I FEEL you and you aren’t alone. There are manythings that I wish I knew when I was young,and I wouldn’t have wasted so much damn time throughout those four years.


Politicswas the direction people loved for me.


For as long as I can remember, I was always told I should be a lawyer, a judge, a congresswoman; something along the lines of working within this government. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like politics were forced into my cranium and I didn’t have a choice in what I wanted to be—that was neverthe case. However, with hearing politicsso much, I didn’t give my mind the chance to explore anythingelse. 


When I went on college tours, all I looked for were their political science or pre-law programs; when I got to college, I immediately selected my major to be Political Science during orientation; during my sophomore year, I added Criminal Justice as a minor, because it made sense for my next step, which was law school. No matter what the step was, it alwaysinvolved politics and law school. I loved law, reading up on cases and imagined myself living like Casey Novak from Law & Order: SVU, so I didn’t bother looking anywhere else when politics was infused into my mind.


But…I found myself looking at new steps.


It killsme, but of coursetwo years after I received my degree and was studying for my LSATs I decided that I didn’t even want to do this…TUH!How disrespectful is that? Finally got through those four years, was beginning the next step that I thought was supposed to be the next step for a while now, to get to a point where I believed I made a hugemistake. Fuck.


One day, I was simply studying one of the sections I should expect to encounter when taking the LSATs and I…just lost all motivation to keep going. The spark that I had throughout the years wasn’t the same—for a while I didn’t know how to get the spark as strong as it used to be. Because I didn’t know anything else but politics, that’s what I stuck to and tried to re-light the flame with it.





I stumbled, but eventually I found the correct match.


After those two years, I spent another year not knowing what I should do; what direction to go in; what my purpose was; what would give me my flame back. Then—after some intense connecting with and engaging with God—I realized that my flame could only be ignited by my gift: writing.


When I think back on it now, along with people believing that I should go to law school, I had others who were telling me that I should start working on a book. For every teacher that thought I did amazing during in-class debates, there were others who thought that I should submit my short stories to contests. And though I had both paths in my view, I didn’t understand why I didn’t take writing as seriously as politics.


Well…while I was thinking back, I realized that I looked at politics more than writing because I could see an exact future with the politics; I didn’t have enough visionfor writing. With politics, I knew the major, knew law school, knew law degree, knew law firm, knew law life. With writing, I didn’t immediately know what major, what graduate school, what job position, what life I would have. I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of not knowing what could be next, so I stuck with what I could see.


My lack of vision almost cost me my happiness.


Yes, I do regret not being able to be more faithful in my writing when I was in college and allowing myself to go with my heart instead of safety; yes, I did spend seven—damn—years going the wrong way; but, I am beyond grateful that my vision was unlocked and I didn’t keep stumbling to get the flame back. Boy, how I wish I could just go back in time, pop-up on younger me and tell her exactly what major she should go into, to listen to her heart a little bit more and stop being so damn hesitant. 

However, one of the things I learned is that I might’ve been too youngto have been able to handle this vision. That, maybe, just maybe, the reason why I didn’t realize this is college—or even three years after the fact—is because I wouldn’t have been able to properly execute everything that I am currently doing. Yes, I did waste some time in college, but the growing was needed.



Alley OlivierComment