5 Unfortunate Truths Every Writing Major Eventually Comes To Terms With
For as long as I can remember, I've always been able to write and articulate well. I had a super tough time with math and science in school. I found science interesting, and there was a little (just a tad) bit of hope for me when it came to my grades. But let me tell you, when I say I struggled with math, I freaking struggled.
I failed grade nine math, and I had tutors on top of tutors trying to get me together. From elementary all the way up to high school, I truly thought I was inept at this subject and perhaps slightly slow when it came to numbers.
I went to a small, private, Christian high school that put a lot of emphasis on math and the sciences, so I felt like an outcast compared to other students who were excelling in these subjects. I was confused and frustrated.
As the years went by, I realized I had a gift for creating stories in my mind that came to life on paper. I distinctly remember being excited in my English and writer's craft classes because I knew I was good, and I was confident in my work.
While writing drafts of my short stories, I would sit there, and piece by piece, I'd begin a story in my head, ensuring to connect each detail. That way, the story would add up and seem as real as possible. My images were vivid and spoke from my soul.
After of years of feeling inadequate, I finally found something of my own. So, once it was time to apply to university, I chose a professional writing degree, which basically covers all aspects of writing.
At first I thought everything was perfect, but now that I'm actually in my program, I realize there are new challenges to be faced. I'm expected to take various mandatory courses, and a lot of them are technical and based heavily on rhetoric.
First year was much more exciting because I actually felt like I was perfecting my craft. We covered short stories and dissected our essay writings for refined end product.
This year, however, sh*t got kinda dry. And I still don't know what the f*ck to do with my degree.
Writing gets a bad wrap for being that "no money, mo' problems" career path, where you always need a back-up plan or job on the side. That being said, here are five struggles every confused writing major who's lost and praying for a damn miracle goes through:
1. You start to believe people's snarky remarks and conclude you'll end up broke.
Some people don't hold back when it comes to their comments and advice about your career path. I can definitely attest to past teachers (sometimes even family members) who have questioned my degree choice, but they congratulated others who seemed to be pursuing more "promising paths" where money and jobs are practically guaranteed.
I usually am an optimistic person, so I mostly shrug these comments off. But sometimes, they really get to me.
I begin to worry about my future, question why I chose my degree and if I'll find a job after. It's stressful to feel uncertain.
2. The career choices either don't intrigue you or seem limited.
It is my dream to write a fiction novel, but that's realistically going to happen way down the road. I've searched for numerous jobs that entail writing, and what I've some across so far just doesn't seem like anything I want to do. That scares me.
Writers can be lawyers, creative writers, reporters and publishers, and there are business opportunities available as well. However, when you're still in the stage of figuring out what kind of writing you're into and what kind of voice you want to have, choosing which career to pursue can have you feeling totally lost.
3. You realize the essays you wrote in high school won't cut it in college.
Most writers can relate when I say when you know you can write at an early age, your confidence is usually through the roof in high school. Once you enter university, however, there is a whole host of new content introduced to you. Thinking you just need to know how to write isn't enough.
You study the mechanics, the history and the different genres. When your ass was basically used to the basic, early stages of writing, you start to really question if you truly knew what you were getting into.
4. At one point during your degree, you consider other options.
As much as I am a believer in following where your heart leads, life is real and sh*t happens that makes you want to reevaluate everything. Just the other day, I researched a degree in communications, but of course, it isn't for me.
5. Your uncertainty makes you more driven.
I can definitely say that me not knowing what I want to do with my major has immeasurably driven me to improve my craft. I write more frequently than I ever have before, and for some reason, the uncertainty that has come upon me seems like an exciting puzzle being solved, despite its challenges.
I am one of those Oprah life lessons type of people, so I do believe everything happens for a reason. And even though I'm facing some challenges, there is tremendous growth in struggle.
Writing is a talent I have, and I have yet to reach my full potential. That in and of itself is inspiring. For any of you writing majors out there, know that your degree serves a purpose. Rest assured, it will work out.
(PS You will — I repeat, you will — get a job.)