Please Stop Telling Me My Degree Will Be Useless

Being a college student sucks. At times, I think, oh I could drop out and still make it big. But alas, life just doesn’t work like that for all of us. So I sit in classrooms, toiling away, learning about how to write a good poem, learning about writing and literature, and talking about politics.

Because, yes, I’m a Creative Writing major. So okay, even with college, I may not make it big. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try.

You might say, but you don’t need college to be a writer. You might say, but who wants to read poetry anyway. You might say, why aren’t you majoring in something more practical?

And, oh, how that question irritates me. I don’t need you telling me that what I’m studying isn’t practical. I really just don’t need that in my life. Writing is my passion. Poetry is my passion. Learning about it all and getting to write it in classes is my passion. Instead of studying something ‘practical’ for life (which by the way isn’t really practical at all since most college students aren’t getting hired in their chosen field anyway), I’m studying something that’s ‘practical’ to me. I’m studying something I love, something I can look forward to and be passionate about when I talk to other people.

And yeah, I may not make it big as a writer anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean I can’t dream. Sure, I may not make it big really ever, but I don’t need to drive a Tesla to be happy. And okay, I may wish for more money in the future, but I’d rather be doing something I love than something I hate for the money.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m comfortable living in this world where I write my poems, work a day job and am completely happy with my life.

I understand that it may take me a while to find a job, settle in to a place, feel comfortable monetarily. I understand that I may struggle. I understand that you think my degree will be useless and I should study something more practical. I understand that underneath all of that taunting exterior, you’re just worried for me and my future. I get it.

I don’t need you to tell me my degree will be useless. Frankly, I already know that. And I’ve come to terms with that.

But I get to go to class every day and love what I’m studying. I get to learn about things I like. I get to learn about things that I’m truly passionate about. And that’s all I really care about. So you can take your teasing and taunting somewhere else.

Because I love my degree, and I don’t need your permission to do that.

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Movies Full of Happy Endings, And Most of Us Get This

I’m the first one on movie night to suggest titles like You’ve Got Mail, She’s the Man, and Princess Diaries, where – no matter what – the girl gets the guy. No matter what, the credits roll over a valiant kiss and declaration of feelings. No matter what, the credits roll over: Happily Ever After.

All this is great, until the lights come on and we’re thrust back into reality. The reality where boys don’t declare their feelings so openly. The reality where we’re single as f*ck and no men in our lives show signs of recognizing our feelings. The reality where happily ever after doesn’t always happen. 

There isn’t a movie about the girl who likes the boy who sits next to her in her writing class, and he doesn’t get it. There’s not a movie portraying the playboy who stays a playboy and doesn’t fall for the cute girl down the street. There’s no movie showing us just wandering around, hoping the one randomly pops up so we can have our final kiss and live that life we dream about.

What a goddamn boring movie that would be, right? 

But that’s life. Most of us don’t find the one in high school, in the halls in college, at the receptionist desk at work. Most of us go through first date after first date and only sometimes get to the second one without feeling gross or feeling no chemistry. 

We don’t meet a guy at the bar, see fireworks, and two hours later, after wild adventures and a predictable break up, end up together forever. 

And that’s just it. No one wants to sit in a movie theatre and watch a girl go to college, drink on weekends with her friends, complain about boys, and then watch the credits roll. We want drama and passion and love. We want to watch what we could have. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love watching that Rom Com and pretending that I’m going to find that one day. But will I? Or will I just endlessly wander around, a circle of liking a guy and him never opening his eyes to me? And I’m not saying I need my happy ending now, but ever? 

Maybe I’m not forward enough. Maybe I’m absolute shit at showing my feelings. Maybe I’m too shy or too introspective. 

According to the Rom Coms, though, some guy is going to see me, and want to date and marry me. 

I’m calling bullshit. 

Life isn’t a movie. Life doesn’t work in a methodical, predicts way where we meet, fight, and make up just in time for the next movie to show. Life is dissatisfying for most – love-wise – and we don’t always find our soulmate. 

I might be extremely cynical. But it’s not like I haven’t had examples of true love in my life: my grandparents have been married since college, my parents have been in love since high school. But life now, in 2016, is different from the 50s, 80s, and even the 90s. 

Most men want to sleep around and sow their wild wild oats before they settle down. I say most because there are some who want to date and settle down, but where are they

This past movie night with my roommate, we watched How To Be Single, a great movie that attempts to highlight four different women and their search for love. And it was the first movie I’d seen in a long ass time that showed honestly, how it feels being single. It’s lonely at times. At other times, it’s liberating. Still, this movie ended in two happy endings, and two unresolved ones. And even still, all four women had their pick of men throughout the movie. 

That’s not true life. 

Again, I might be cynical and ranting. But please, point me to the movies that don’t end with the guy getting the girl. Point me to the men who don’t want to sow their oats. 

Point me to my happy ending. 

How To Deal With Loss When You Don’t Know How

My grandfather passed away this week. It was a loss I expected, but the feelings were not.

I’ve been fortunate enough to only have lost one other family member in my life. It was my grandmother when I was 9 years old. I don’t really remember it – I’ve always had a terrible memory – but I do remember that the grief didn’t really hit me until I was standing in front of her friends and family at her funeral.

But this time…this time was different. Perhaps it was because I knew my grandfather better than I did my grandmother. Perhaps it’s because I’m older and I understand grief and death and loss a lot better than I did 11 years ago. Perhaps it’s just because I allow myself to feel my emotions instead of stuffing them down inside myself and never telling anyone about them.

No matter the reason, it hurts. It’s an actual physical ache in my chest. I know that sounds cliché, and the grief does come and go in waves, but when the water has hit the shore again, my chest hurts. I have no appetite, my insomnia is back. For some reason, this grief has consumed me. 

I’m not sure if I will get to speak at this funeral. But if I do, I have loads to say.

My grandfather and I were never exceptionally close. We didn’t talk every day, or write emails to each other. We saw each other maybe twice or three times a year.

But, god, did I idolize him.

He was the smartest person I’ve ever met. He corrected grammar (even on restaurant menus) and spoke with eloquence even in his daily life. For goodness sake, he did crossword puzzles in ink. Did he ever need to erase an answer? Hell no! My grandfather was a lawyer – and from what I’ve heard, a great one. And he had a wonderful sense of humor. He always welcomed questions about life and law.

And though he was a little deaf – okay, a lot deaf – he was always ready to listen.

This grief pushing on my chest may be different from grief I’ve felt before, but it takes up just as much space in my heart. Grief is not static – it is ever-changing and shifting. This grief may feel like this now. But tomorrow, it might feel different. Tomorrow, I might feel enlightened – knowing my grandfather is actually in a better place: pain free and smiling again. Tomorrow, I might feel worse – as though the ground has dropped from under me.

No matter how I feel: this is life. Life twists and turns and makes us feel things we do not want to feel. And we have to experience it.

It helps us to grow and improve and be better. It helps us to view the world differently and understand others. Does grief hurt? Hell yes. Does it suck? Um, yeah.

Does grief make us think? Absolutely.

I’m not trying to make death into a life lesson. Because for some, it just passes. We don’t get to choose how we feel. That’s chemistry and emotions and brain neurons firing. But we can wake up and decide that, today, this ache is going to help us.

It’s going to push us to be better. It’s going to help us feel sad, and then help us to move on. It’s going to help us learn about life and love and maybe even law.

 

Featured Photo via Unsplash.