svearose Posted April 29, 2010 Share Posted April 29, 2010 I spent two reasonably successful years at a notoriously difficult University and then, during my third year, everything fell apart. I've never been the perfect student. I procrastinate as a result of fear or failure and perfectionism. As a result I have always, to some extent, underperformed. But during my third year, I found every paper nearly impossible to complete at all, much less on time. It was excruciating an humiliating and a lot of other unpleasant things that end with -ing. Even though I have at certain points not lived up to my potential, I've never been the sort of person who doesn't do my work. There was a lot going on at home: my father was ill and my parents were struggling financially. Additionally, I found the pressure of finally having to commit to a major terrifying. So, I took a year off. I did some other things: I studied art which has always been a passion, got a job, tried to stop worrying so much. I'm glad I've taken this time, but I still feel much the same way I did at the end of last year: overwhelmed, struggling to complete simple day to day tasks that shouldn't be hard, and utterly paralyzed by the notion of committing to a field of study that may somehow guide my life in a direction that will make me miserable. I think too much, and realize this is mostly ridiculous. It is, nonetheless, something I have little control over. (I know I should see a therapist, but unfortunately my health care plan doesn't cover that and I can't afford it on my own.) When I took my leave of absence, I was an Anthropology major and a creative writing minor. I have since decided that Anthropology probably isn't for me, but I'd like to hang onto my writing minor. I need to graduate in the next two years at most, and I don't really have any more time to experiment with classes. I need to settle on something before I start again and stick to it this time. Deep down, I feel resigning myself to Visual Arts is the best option, because it won't be as stressful as a more academic field and creating has always made me happy. It should be simple, shouldn't it? However, I can't help but worry that if I choose Visual Arts, it will hurt my chances of getting into grad school (I've considered art conservation, historic preservation, architecture, photography, creative writing, or archaeology as potential future courses of study) should I want to pursue academia. I fear, more generally, that it will harm my chances of being taken seriously as an intellectual person period. (Yes, I realize this attitude is ridiculous and ill-informed--I also realize a lot of people ARE ridiculous and ill-informed.) Mostly, I want to ensure that I have the option, post undergraduate, to go on and do something that is engaging and exciting (and ideally pays well enough that I don't have to live in a box). Do any of you have any experience with this? Or advice on making important, scary life decisions? Or helpful tactics to push the fear out, and go on living life? Any insights would be appreciated really. Thank you and sorry for the long, rambling, somewhat incoherent post! Link to comment
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