I believe in the ability to take control of my life, though it is not always easy. I learned this by pursuing my passion.
As I sat in Ms. Pearson’s college writing class, I felt comfortable and, basically, in my element. Writing was a passion of mine since I was in junior high and I would write little short stories for entertainment. When the time came for me to choose a major, I didn’t choose English. It had crossed my mind to do so, but I didn’t want to teach and I didn’t want to be a poor writer. Instead, I chose a different route that didn’t feel right at all.
I excelled in Ms. Pearson’s class that semester, and I got to be good enough friends with her that we could have pretty candid discussions. Sitting in her office one day, I implied that, if I had the choice I would be an English major. She looked at me, sternly, her mouth in a funny O-shape.
She said, “You do have the choice, Jacob.”
That stuck with me for awhile. For some reason, though, as I changed my major again, I didn’t choose English. See, another passion of mine was drawing. Ms. Pearson’s words were obviously erased from my mind as I switched to an art major.
Big mistake. I was eaten alive.
During my horrific semester as an art major, I was very stressed. That is a gross understatement. I began to hate drawing. This depressed me. One of my favorite things was becoming a chore.
It was a gray, autumn afternoon. I was walking home from school. Flurries of snow stung my cheeks. The cold was just a reflection of my mood. With teeth clenched, I could feel the strain in my chest as I thought of the way my latest art project was ripped apart, and I was humiliated in front of my peers.
Suddenly, Ms. Pearson’s words came back to my mind. You do have the choice, Jacob.
So I decided to test it. I must have looked like a crazy person, but I muttered to myself under my breath. I said, “I’m going to pretend like I’ve already made the decision. I’m an English major.”
It was like slipping into a nice warm bed. I felt the strain in my chest ease.
That experience acted as a catalyst to bring me where I am today. Now I am an English major, and I am graduating in two semesters. I still love writing. That decision opened more doors for me as I learned about what I can do as an English major.
Not only did this experience help me choose a major, but it also enabled me to make more decisions to take control of my life. Just recently, I left a job that I hated, after three years there. In essence, the doors have become easier to open. To become the navigator of my own destiny has been the greatest lesson ever. I know I have the potential and capacity to be what I want to be. I do have the choice.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.