Saturday, June 7, 2008

Repeatedly Getting Hit In The Face With A Ton of Bricks

So it's official, I'm changing my major.
I seriously never thought I'd say that. I always had this "I'm not going to be one of those people who doesn't know what they want to do with their lives and stays in college for five or six years' I had focus, ambitions, dreams, a plan, I even had a back-up plan.
I guess I am one of those people, though I could probably still get by in 4 years, not that I even want to, I'm pretty sure I could go to Buff State for at least 5 more years of my life and not be disappointed, at the beginning of last semester I actually attempted to figure out a scheme where I could 'go to Buff State' and live on campus and not go to classes, needless to say that didn't exactly work.
This isn't going where I wanted it to go...
All through High School I've been very determined, well, I've always been very determined, but in my freshman year of high school my future plans were finally realized while reading an issue of TeenVogue (in retrospect, it probably wasn't the best place to be in to determine the rest of my life). I was going to be a fashion designer, I was going to go to Parson's, a very expensive school in NYC. I was going to be famous and rich. I might be being to hard on myself, it's not quite that selfish. I've always been a bit of a radical, and I was planning on single-handedly revolutionizing the fashion business. I was going to have positive body image ad campaigns, and I would refuse to conform to the 'sex sells' mentality. I recall even having an idea to build a non-sweatshop factory in Africa, to train the people to make clothes and give them fair wages, I was going to build a school too, to send the kids too, and of course I was going to have enough left over to have the most envied shoe collection in the world.
Fashion just always seemed right. I've loved it as long as I can remember. Dress-up was my favorite childhood game, and my I had an exponentially higher amount of Barbie clothes than actually Barbies, whose 'games' consisted of as many scenarios I could think of resulting in the maximum amount of outfit changes per day. That girl did everything. I handed my first 'fashion sketch' to my grandmother at age 3 (so I'm told, I don't recall this, it may have been closer to age 5) of a princess dress, explaining to her that she was to sew it for me and that was what I was being for Halloween that year, and I always loved to travel, not just anywhere, but too far away places, cultured places. Thoughts of yearly fabric shows in Paris and business trips to London and Tokyo put stars in my eyes.
I had big plans.
but here's the catch:
God has even bigger plans for me, bigger than I can even imagine
I'm not entirely sure God has the same shoe collection I had in mind, but there's always necessary sacrifices to make when one chooses to take up their cross and follow his will, which always even out in the end. I know this not only because there is a myriad of evidence for this throughout the bible, but throughout my life as well. I mean even in the past year and a half or so, gosh, even in the last semester, I have been so incredibly transformed by him, and I couldn't be happier with my life or where it's going.
Here's a pretty big example, I wasn't even going to go to Buff State. I mean, absolutely, positively, not not not going to Buff State, it wasn't my last choice school, it was my last resort school. The counselor said I needed to apply to a 'back-up school', preferably something in SUNY I knew I could get into. Buff State's the only SUNY school with a fashion program, and that is the only reason I applied. I needed to get away from home and pursue my big shiny gleaming future. Turns out about a month before I "needed to have all my applications in" I realize that the 'portfolio' I had assumed would be a collection of fashion sketches actually was supposed to be a full-on art portfolio. Turns out I'd overlooked that Parson's has what they call 'Freshman Foundations' a year of basic art classes before you go into your major. I wasn't about to pop out an entire portfolio in a month and still manage to have the slightest idea of what was going on in AP calc, as well as all my other classes, not to mention I wasn't thrilled about taking a year of just art, I wanted to jump right into my major. It was down to Buff State and Philidelphia University. Buff State would mean that I would continue to live in this 'godforsaken' city, PhilaU wanted me to take Gym Class. I thought Philly would be cool though, because there was a lot of homeless people there I could help, and my favorite stores headquarters were there and they gave a lot of internships to the students. (I laugh at this looking back) It didn't matter too much because I was only going to either school for a year and then I was transferring to Parson's with
About a month or two after my dreams were lying in pieces on the ground (or so I thought) I went on a "Buffalo Missions Trip" most of which was spent on the west side of Buffalo (I know, that is soo suburban). I learned a lot in that weekend, about privilege and poverty, about refugees, about Buffalo in general. I learned that the west side Buffalo was the second most diverse place in the state (next to NYC) because of the refugee population. We drove around on a 'tour' and I noticed all the murals and different cultures, I learned how the neighborhoods were slowly improving, how I could help that happen, I learned about white middle class citizens who purposely choose to live there even though they could live somewhere 'safer' in the suburbs. Buffalo wasn't as bad as I thought. This became a primary reason for my 'being ok' with going to Buff State, I figured I could maybe volunteer to help refugees or something in my spare time. This, coupled with my love for Elmwood, thanks to Saturday shopping trips with my grandmother, visiting Spot Coffee, Talking Leaves, various consignment shops and of course, the fabric store, shaped my decision. I also found out Buff State had a 3-1 program with FIT, so if Parson's didn't work out for some reason I could definitely graduate from 'the other fashion school' in New York. If that wasn't enough to convince me, they gave me a scholarship and it was pretty inexpensive for me to go there.
It all makes sense now, little did I realize at the time, God was calling me to Buff State. I remember praying for his will in my life and wondering where the heck it was (as it was hitting me in the face like a ton of bricks). My first semester was a little off color. I took a ridiculous Saturday morning sewing class, and I ended up dorming in a hotel, a strange surreality between dorm life and commuting. It was great and I don't regret it at all, but there were times when it brought me to dark places. I would get back to the hotel early everyday not having any really close friends on campus, or much reason to be there after classes were over. I went to Intervarsity, but there was this big gap in the middle of the semester where a bus ride back to my room just seemed like the better option. None of my friends were back from campus yet, so I was pretty lonely, I turned to the TV more often then not, which was little but daytime talk shows and soap operas, neither of which were really good for my state. I started falling into old habits, namely laziness, and my thought life became so off, I was spending very little time in the word and my focus was not always on God. I started coming back to Intervarsity, I was going to parties with them, these people were really accepting me and making me always feel welcome, it was just what I needed.
The night before I moved onto campus I was at the last meeting of the college aged youth group at my church, my pastor was discussing how the format was going to change, his vision for the college ministry, what we could do. He mentioned trying to start 'Life Groups' on our campuses. These groups were based on journaling through scripture in 'Life Journals' and meeting weekly to talk about it. I immediately put that thought of starting one out of my mind, I made up any excuse I could to convince myself I couldn't do it. The next night, my first night living on campus, a close friend of mine came into the room during my quiet time and noticed the life journal, conveying to me how she really wanted to start getting into the word everyday. I showed her the read the bible in a year plan and she said she needed one of those. I told her I could get her a journal for her, then I told her how my pastor had mentioned starting small groups and asked if she wanted to meet weekly to talk about it. She was in, and my roommate immediately jumped in on it too. An opportunity to go to small group leaders training through Intervarsity came up shortly after, all of the sudden everything was being pieced together, God had a purpose for me on Buff State's campus, I realized I had been called there, everything just made perfect sense. I threw myself into Intervarsity, I got to know everyone, and got involved as much as I could. My grades suffered a little bit, I wasn't thinkingi about my school work for the first time in my life. I've just been in awe of how this all worked out, I still can't believe it, I've never felt closer to God, I can actually see when his will is hitting me in the face like a ton of bricks now, which is awesome. I have such a passion for Buff State now, I love it.
Just like God called me to Buff State, he's called me to switch my major. I know I had big plans for fashion but they wouldn't work out for me. I've been wrestling with this a lot in my mind, thinking it's really no big deal what my major is because God can just call me to whatever he's going to call me too regardless, and it's too much of a hassle to switch, and it will disappoint my parents, and I really love fashion, and I've collected so many books and magazines and sewing patterns I might as well use them. As any human being I had about a million excuses and had just about decided not to make the change. I was praying on it that day, and that night I was in the word and guess what?
God's will hit me in the face like a ton of bricks. Right there, plain as day in black and white I read:
"There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death." ~Proverbs 14:12 NLT
I just sat there in awe, I read it again to make sure it was really there. It was a moment that I think can best be described by the word WOAH, several times.
That's what I get for thinking about not listening to God when I finally realize what he's saying to me.
There's no turning back now, I'm switching my major to either English or English education.
Why? A lot of the most influential people in my life have been my English teachers. One of them actually wrote in my yearbook that I should become an English teacher, which if you knew this particular teacher (my high school friends reading this will) who was slightly insane, very critical and probably regarded the profession of teaching English as the most noble vocation a person could possibly enter, was a big compliment. I love poetry and literature and realize I barely read or write anymore, passions I did not intend on giving up for the sake of Fashion. My parents kind of have their heart set on me being rich still, their idea of success I suppose, so I may go with the 'plain English degree' and go to graduate school for English and doing something smart with my life that will pay well (Stephie says I could write dictionary's someday OH BOY!), maybe I'll just go with English Education because I think it would be cool to influence adolescent lives and I would get summers off. (sweet) Basically that's the only decision left to make, and I really don't regret it at all.



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