Monday, June 9, 2014

Reader's Rant: Oh...Well Do You Have A Backup?

Reader's Rant is a series of posts in which I rant and rage about things (usually pertaining to books) that make me feel like I'm going to explode from frustration.  It isn't a weekly of monthly thing, it just shows up when I experience something that really grinds my gears.  Hope you enjoy!

"Oh, you're going off to college?  That's wonderful!" said an anonymous family member/friend/stranger.  

I laughed awkwardly and felt the way my cheeks heated and my lips stretched.  "Yeah, thanks!  I'm really excited about it." 

"So," they asked, leaning in closer and grinning, "what do you plan to study?"

I hesitated, knowing what was about to come.  But maybe...maybe this one would be different.  Maybe they would understand.  "Um, I want to study English.  Creative Writing, actually."  

Their eyes widened and they jerked back in surprise, struggling to keep the now plastic smile from slipping from their face.  Here it comes... " want to be a teacher, right?"  Their fingers fidgeted on their sweating glass of water. 

WRONG.  "No, I actually want to go into publishing.  Maybe be a literary agent or an editor.  It'd be cool to publish my own books someday, too."  Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes.  

Their face pinched and their nose wrinkled in distaste.  I could see the way their eyes skipped from my head to my toes skeptically.  I could see the way the protests beat steadily at their locked lips.  The smile slipped.  "Oh...well, do you have a backup?

And that's about the time that my head explodes from pure frustration.

I feel like this is a problem for all "unconventional" study paths and career ideas.  You want to be an artist?  Oh, but you do know how hard it is to make it in that industry, right?  You're studying to be an actress?  What's your real job going to be?  Oh, you want to earn a degree in English?  So you're definitely going to be a teacher.  

As a newly dubbed high school graduate who will be attending a university this fall, I've been getting the whole "what are you going to do with your future" question a lot lately.  And when I say a lot, I mean A.  LOT.  And hey, I don't mind.  I mean, it is my future we're talking about.  I'm kind of excited about it so I can basically go on for hours and tell you all the awesome things I plan to do.  But when I tell you be goals and dreams for the future and you respond with something as negative as "do you have a backup?", I'm not going to want to talk to you about it anymore!  Already, just by asking that question, you have proved to me that you do not believe in me to achieve that goal.  You doubt my ability to work hard enough to become what I want to become in life.  

Look, chances are, if someone says they want to pursue a career in a certain field, they know how slim the chances are of success in that field.  I know publishing isn't an industry that I'm positive I'll get a shot to work in and I sure as hell know that becoming an author is even harder.  Trust me, I know.  I've done my research.  And I still think I can do it.  If I didn't think I could do it, trust me, I wouldn't be preparing to study for years and years and years in order to be successful in it.  But I seriously believe that I can do this.  

And, trust me, I understand.  The people who say these things are not trying to be mean or cynical I hope  they are just trying to look out for what is best for me.  They want to make sure I'm on the path to success.  But - listen when I tell you this - I'm going to be so much more successful pursuing something that I am passionate about and that I love than pursuing something just because it's "easier" or the industry is more "stable".  And hey, who knows, I might find out in college that I do want to teach or become a lawyer or a doctor (but that's not likely because blood and the like makes me sick).  But right now and for the foreseeable future, my dream is to become an editor/literary agent/author.  And that's how it's going to stay.

Do any of you have experience dealing with this situation?  How does it make you feel?  More determined to reach your goals, perhaps? :) Tell me what you think in the comments below!


  1. Congratulations on your graduation!!

    I had no idea what I wanted to do in college, and ended up getting a dumb degree that I ended up hating. So for all the naysayers, you are already WAY ahead of the game. You know what you want to do, and have GOALS. What exactly is the problem? I mean, what major do they think you should choose? Because in today's economy, there basically are very, very few degrees that automatically lead to jobs. You're going to have to work to get the job, and you already are aware of that, so what is the issue? I just had to comment, because you seriously impressed me. I pretended that I would just never graduate and then I'd never have to find a job. And you have goals, and that is kind of the biggest step- goals, and the desire to achieve them? Yep, I think you're going to do just fine!

    1. Thank you so much! This comment really means a lot to me because recently, like I said in the post, I've been hearing nothing but criticism about it! Of course I know the risks and the challenges I'll face but I'm excited to face them and work to achieve my goals! So, like I said, thank you a lot!

  2. I'm not as brave or confident as you, if you consider the fact that I'd love to write for a living but there's no way my parents would be cool with me majoring in English/Creative Writing so I'm choosing something else. I mean, I probably wouldn't major in it anyways, just because I'm freakishly good at math and it makes me happier than English class ever did. Which is why I want to major in something like ARCHITECTURE. And if you know anything about the field, it's that there are JOBS AVAILABLE but it's really HARD TO GET A JOB. So, I hear stuff like that all the time. And I'm much less qualified to be an architect than you are to be a writer. One, I need to learn how to draw. Two, I need to get better at physics. But for whatever reason I still think I might just be able to do this. Don't know why. Really, I have no evidence that backs that up. But I'm willing to give it a shot. And hey, maybe I'll hate it and decide to go into publishing! Or computer science. But you get the idea.
    I'm rooting for you, though (:

    1. Thank you so much for this comment! I don't feel confident or brave but I know what I love so I'm just rolling with it. You shouldn't let your parents keep you from something you love! But if you like Architecture more, than go for that! It sounds like an interesting field and it would definitely be satisfying seeing the designs you draw come to life. And practice makes perfect! I've been working extremely hard on reading and writing for years now and I still have a lot to learn. College will hopefully teach me even more! You don't want to rush making your decision! I think you'll figure it out :)

      Thanks for rooting for me and for stopping by!


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