Society forces us to choose our fates so early in life.
I started visiting colleges only two years into high school at age 16. I was just starting to drive on my own and now I have to make a decision on where I will spend the equivalent of a fourth of my current life. Two years later I was packing up my car and moving out of the house. I was 18 years old—not even allowed to enjoy a glass of wine and I had to choose a program that would be my career for the rest of my life. The rest of my life. That is the equivalent of (hopefully) 472 percent of my current life. Now I’m 21 years old and I am getting my first tastes of what that 472 percent will be like.
But I am the luckiest. I am the luckiest because I love this taste and I want more of it. I want to eat the whole plate and go back for seconds. But what if at age 18—still a kid (as if I’m not still a kid as I write this, ha) I made the wrong decision? What if instead I had chosen accounting? I would have done three years of my program and gotten an internship just before I began my last year. I could have hated that internship and then what? I would only have a year left, I would be pretty much locked into this career I hated because I made a wild guess at what I wanted to do with, say, 55 years of my life when I had only experienced 18 years at all.
I’ve always dreamed of working at Food Network Magazine, of living in New York City, and I’m doing it right now. If you know what you want to do, where you want to be and you are doing it, you are so fortunate. To leave that all behind without any concrete security that I will be back seems ridiculous. I don’t want to go back to school, I want to do all the things I haven’t done yet, see the things I haven’t had time to see, have experiences I didn’t get a chance to have. But thanks to my friend Abby, I’ve realized how exciting that is. Not getting all of those things done is our reassurance—or at least my reassurance—that I will be back.
But until then, I have one amazing senior year to attend to. Be right back, New York.
Iowa State University