Crazy, right? For most of my life, it was practically a foregone conclusion that -- if I chose to go to college at all -- I would end up an English major. Creative writing's my thing, has been since I first started with Johnny Quest fanfiction in the first grade, and I'm not too bad at essays either. Reading the assigned literature, on the other hand . . . well, I plead the fifth. No offense, Dickens.
It began to occur to me that my interests were not so linear anymore. When perusing classes, I kept being drawn back to history courses. All I could think of was, what stories these classes could tell me, what inspiration would I draw from the past! For me, that's what history is: tales of real people living real lives. People just like you or me -- women and men who had dreams and hopes and fears. Not just names in a textbook (that I'm required to read and probably won't because we've established this sad truth). They say life is stranger than fiction, and many events that have taken place in the course of human history are certainly strange, to say the least, if not outright unbelievable!
I still wanted to be an author, of course, but I was no longer certain than an English degree was the best or, I should say, only way to help me achieve that. Don't get me wrong, I think an English degree is wonderful, and immensely helpful for any would-be writer. It just wasn't for me, after all. And I'll be entering my third year next fall, so this could change, but right now I'm happy with the decision to become a history major.
I've already started watching Jeopardy; that's like halfway there, right? ;)
Thing is, writers are incredibly fortunate as they can study 'at the knee', proverbially speaking, of the masters. All the greats that came before us have left their life's work for us to read and learn from. I didn't need an English degree for that, not when I could pick up any of those books on my own time (and with the added bonus of not having to write a lengthy essay about symbolism). The truth of the matter was, a minor in creative writing would give me everything I needed, leaving me free to choose whatever major I wanted and investigate a different path than the one initially marked out in crayon by my younger self.
It was both thrilling and terrifying -- but what big changes in life aren't?
I've always felt that pursuing your passions is important. If you don't like where you're at, why are you there? If you don't like what you're doing, why are you doing it? I'm as guilty of getting caught up in routine as anyone else. Because it's safe. Because it's easy. But rarely is it as rewarding as stepping from your comfort zone, taking a chance, and diving into something new, just for the heck of it.
The Roman writer, Virgil, famously wrote, "Fortune favors the bold."
So be bold, in your writing and in life!
Note: Blog post title is a quote by the ever-excellent Winston Churchill.