One of my biggest struggles in college (and the first years after I graduated) was figuring out what the heck I was supposed to do with my life. I envied the kids who had a clue (like Raleigh). They were on a straight track with their courses, prepping them for their careers after college.
Me? I chose the College of Liberal Arts. You know, the college where you can be just about anything.
I'm not knocking the College of Liberal Arts but the vastness of this major makes it hard for a girl who doesn't really know what she wants to do pick something to do. I loved the idea of taking public speaking courses. I know, I know, that is everyone's least favorite class. But, me? I didn't mind it at all. So after that class, I figured I'd go into public relations...be a people person, right?
In order to get into the public relations/broadcasting/journalism track, all students had to take a pass/fail class called Journalism Fundamentals. The class consisted of three tests and if you scored below an 80 on any of the three tests you failed the class. Talk about pressure! I studied, studied, studied with my suite mate Mary Schaffer who was in the class with me. First test: pass. High fives! Second test: pass. Victory dance in the dorm room! Third test: she passed, I failed. I'm sorry hugs.
I cried like my life was over. I had scored a 79 on my third test. If I had made one more correct answer, I would have passed. I begged the teacher for a re-do, to let me do some extra credit, something to make me pass that class. She said no, of course.
I went home for Christmas break feeling like a failure. I had never failed a class (really, my average in the class if it was on a normal grading system was a B but that is beside the point) and was sick to my stomach about how that one class had altered so many things for me at college. First, goodbye public relations. Second, now I had to have "official" study hours for my sorority and I hated having my name called out in front of everyone. Third, I was nervous that I wouldn't qualify for any of the extracurricular activities I wanted to try out for in the spring. Life looked like it was over.
But, then I learned about the gap program (not the store). At Auburn, students could "gap" a class that they failed and that class score would be removed from your GPA. Therefore, I could still have an A/B average to qualify for extra-curriculars and I only had to have study hours for one semester (seriously, why did I get my panties in a wad about that one?). It also meant that I needed to choose another major or take the class again to get into public relations.
Well, since I didn't really know what I wanted to do with public relations to begin with, I decided not to take the class from h-e-double-l again and chose Communications as my path. Really, the biggest difference between these two majors is that PR has more "writing" classes (we still had tons of papers in Communications) and Communications had more "public speaking" classes. And, most businesses classify Communications/PR/Marketing as the same thing so it didn't really affect my future job options. (By the way, for you Journalism people that did pass the class, I totally just Googled if I used the correct form of affect in that sentence...I think it is right, right?).
My point in all of this is to say that sometimes we fail but sometimes that failure leads us to discovering our true passions. I think it is extremely ironic now that I'm a blogger even though I failed a Journalism class. I'll be the first to admit that there are commas in the wrong spots, run-on sentences, and grammatical errors in pretty much every post but gosh, darn, I hope these posts are passionate.
Because, I have discovered along the way that my passion is sharing and encouraging and I follow my passion primarily through writing and speaking. Even though I never knew what I wanted to be, God did. He knows the lessons I need to learn through failure and he continually teaches me to trust in him.
I might never write for a newspaper. But, some magazines have thought my work was good enough to share. I might never speak to a stadium filled with people but I get to share every Sunday with 50 kids. God is still working, still teaching, still guiding me to live a passionate, trusting life.
He is doing the same for you too. If you are confused about your major, focus on what seems like the next best step. It might not be the perfect step or the step you thought you would take but trust and try it anyway.
If you really want to take a course like photography even though it gives you no credit toward graduating in your field whatsoever, try it. Don't graduate and wonder what life could have been like if you had taken that class. So many people go to grad school because they didn't have it figured out the first time around. And, that's totally okay but if your gut is telling you to take a step that is a little off the path you are on, listen to it. Don't be afraid of a life different than you planned.
Find your passion - through failures, wrong turns and right. Trust that God designed you to be an awesome teacher, a brilliant doctor, a detailed architect, or a caring counselor. Whatever is to come - start living passionately today.
Question: What is your passion in life? Are you doing what you want to be doing? If not, what is stopping you?
Till next time, let your light shine!
If you've missed some of our earlier throwback thursday posts you can check them out here: