Four and a half years ago, I left Albany, went to Manhattan with big hopes and dreams, and began what I thought was going to be the most amazing journey of my life at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I believed that I would graduate in May 2011 with a degree in fashion merchandising and be working for some huge company. I thought I would have my own apartment in Manhattan and traveling the world.
I could not have been more wrong.
For a very long time, I believed my choice to go to FIT was the worst decision I ever made in my life. I came home that summer and only two weeks before classes were too begin in the fall, I made the life changing decision not to return. The details are not important, but what is important is that at that time I never felt more lost in my entire life.
All of those hopes and dreams: crushed.
I felt defeated. I would spend the next two years dabbling in different majors and trying to force myself down a path I was not meant for. I would put pressure on myself that only a practical degree was an option for me and not follow my heart.
Then last fall, everything fell apart and everything came together.
Its crazy how the times when you feel the most down, you really find yourself. I realized what I loved. Its not science. Its not fashion merchandising. Its not academia.
That day in October, all I really knew at that moment was I love cooking and baking in a way I’ve never loved anything else in my life. I feel happy and better about myself when I do it. I have such a sense of accomplishment when I’m done. It is never an obligation and I always want to do my best.
And no matter how smart I may be or how well I do in school, I never felt that way about anything there. I always just felt like I was lingering there because I didn’t know what else to do. And yes, I may have maintained a great GPA and wrote papers really well, but at the end of the day, that meant nothing to me. I never felt passionate about anything in school the way I saw my friends excited about their majors.
Deep down inside, I think I always knew I was meant to do something with food. It has been such a pain and joy in my life, I feel like I’m inexplicably tied to this object. I know I may sound crazy, but when you realize things you love in life, I believe its a moment to treasure.
And today, I’m that much closer to doing what I love. I am officially done with undergraduate forever. Although I may have never found what I loved at school, I feel such a sense of accomplishment. I would be lying if I said I didn’t think there were days where I didn’t think I was going to finish my degree. I would be lying if I said I never felt envious of my friends who were off away at college living in a separate world while I chose to live at home, work, and go to school. And I would also be lying if I said I was not proud of myself for finishing school.
I would not change anything that has happened to me the past four years…. changing schools, heartbreak, weight gain, a sense of hopelessness, confusion, learning to pick yourself up, learning to be alone and be okay, losing weight, and happiness. Everything I learned is invaluable and I know I am better off for going through rough times and sometimes having to face harsh realities.
I’m excited to see what comes. I constantly have to remind myself I’m only twenty-two years old and I don’t have to have everything planned. I don’t have to have the job I’m going to have the rest of my life. I don’t have to be married with babies. I don’t have to go to graduate school.
I can do whatever I want.
For now, I don’t have any particular long term goals. I know I want to go to culinary school at some point, but I need a serious break from school right now. If I went in the spring, I know my heart would not be in it completely. I know I really want to travel, so at this point I think I’m going to try to save my money to do some serious travel in the next two years.
Who knows, anything can happen. The world is my oyster, right? ha