a “tug” in the right direction?

Everyone that knows me remembers one prominent thing about me. I was completely undecided with my major. Job interviews, family reunions… every time someone asked me what I was planning to do with my life, the only answer I could come up with was “I don’t know.” It made me sound immature and irresponsible. I hated it, but I didn’t know what else to say.

For a while, I planned on going into the business world like my grandparents. They were  a true example of the American Dream: started off with nothing, pursued their dreams and worked hard to start an international multi-level marketing company that is still standing over 20 years later. They are an inspiration to me and I want to make a difference in others’ lives like they have.

Fast forward to senior year of high school and the 1st semester of freshman year in college. I hit a few rough patches with my confidence. I no longer thought I had the persona to make it in the business world. Speech class showed me that I wasn’t exactly the best at communicating. Anyone in my class could attest to my shaky voice, my chattering teeth, and the occasional tear coming from my eyes. I was and still am terrified of public speaking. Communication is important especially if you have to persuade others to buy your product (a.k.a. retail).  My grandparents so easily present to a crowd of over 200 people without a sweat. It’s pretty intimidating. Success doesn’t seem possible when you can’t even speak to a class of 20 peers.

I had no idea what to do. Every single person in high school seemed like they knew exactly where they were going to college, what degree they would pursue, and already knew their after-college plans. I didn’t even know what college I was attending until March of my senior year. (So to anyone reading this who is in the same boat as I was, it’s going to be ok.) It was hard not to break down and think of myself as a failure. I was scared that I didn’t have my plans clearly laid out like everyone else. I was the only one on the volleyball team and one of the very few in the whole freshman class who came into college undecided.

I went through phases in my 1st semester. I was somewhat impulsive. I went along with the first thing that came to my mind and hoped it worked out. (I completely understand if you laugh on some of these. It’s sounds ridiculous summed up so quickly like this, but I promise there was more thought into each of these decisions.) Thank goodness I didn’t declare a major everytime I changed my mind because I would have been that person at orientation they would always mention to future classes: “She changed her major 12 times but she still figured it out in the end.” Oh gosh that would have been awful. Although you don’t actually have to decide until the end of sophomore year, I made it my goal to declare a major by the end of my freshman year. It’s a whole lot easier to graduate in 4 years if you figure it out early. I hoped that by waiting and thinking it over, I was giving myself enough time to find the perfect one. I didn’t want to change after I decided. I wanted to stick to it.

I went into college thinking there was a possibility I could be an engineering or math major. My dad was a math major, I really loved science, and I was really good at math in high school. When I visited Ouachita, I even spoke to the science dean. Unfortunately, I figured out (with the help of AP Physics in the final year of high school) that I disliked science once it introduced concepts that were hard to wrap my brain around. I liked the real-life applications of physics but not the advanced calculus. If I didn’t like the calculus, I would most certainly be miserable as a math major. I began to figure out that it wasn’t for me.

1st semester and Christmas break pass. I knew the sciences/math were off the table even though certain people would still mention that they could visualize me as such. After one of our economics tests, a couple of my good friends who I helped tutor told me I was really good at teaching. I was patient and I fully explained the concepts in detail unlike our teacher in class.I thought this was the lightbulb moment. I love helping people with homework and my friends certainly thought that I would make a great teacher. So… for a couple months I thought I was going to be a teacher. I am the nurturing and loving type. I love little kids. I thought it was the perfect fit and I was almost ready to declare. Something kept holding me back… I had to get realistic. What would I be teaching? What grade level would I be teaching? I didn’t want to teach middle school or high school since they can be super judgemental. I needed to be a genius about my topic or they would see me as some dumb blonde chick who just got out of college and is trying to be a teacher. I thought elementary would be the best way to go. I love little kids. They are fun to be around and they always make you laugh… but they can be pretty annoying. As I thought about it more and more, I realized that I didn’t want to be stuck in one classroom all day for the rest of my life. I wanted to be out in the world with people my own age and older. I didn’t want to finish school to go back to school again until I retire. That didn’t sound appealing to me. I crossed that off my list.

The hardest choice became psychology vs. business. If you didn’t already know, my siblings have high-functioning aspergers. Because of my experiences with them, I can empathize with others who go through the same problems with family members. I kind of understand how their brains work differently. My mom always told me that she could see me going into psychology; we weren’t exactly sure what I would be doing, but she saw me there. I absolutely LOVED my gen psych class in college. It was so so interesting to learn about all the little things that make the brain work and the various disorders. I learned so many practical concepts. I was never bored in that class… I began to look at it realistically. Any major role in psychology required that I go to graduate school. I had never planned on going because I don’t think it is worth the money. I would have to pay for that on my own and most people don’t earn back what they spent on grad school. I plan to find a stable job with my major. I just have to play my cards right and be the kind, responsible, no-drama adult that people want in the workplace. Although I was super torn, I crossed psychology off the list.

For a few weeks, I was back to being clueless. My mind kept saying “marketing… marketing…. marketing….” but I kept saying “no… no…. no… I’m not a good fit for the business world…”

A couple weeks before finals, I finally just decided to “wing it.” On a whim, I declared Business Management with a Marketing Emphasis. You’d be surprised how many times I have “winged” it this past year. Most of those decisions have turned out to be the best things that have happened to me. It was quite a relief to decide but a little nerving. The feeling reminded me of when I finished a crappy paper and finally turned it in. I didn’t really feel that great about it but I was so happy it was over. I’m still not entirely sure if it was the right decision… but I finally made a decision.

Even with certain doubt, it gives me confidence to finally have an answer for the “what are you majoring in?” question. You’d be surprised how different it feels. It gave me purpose. Even if I don’t quite know what I’m working for, I know I’m working towards something. God gave me the opportunity to come into contact with a wonderful lady named Kelly, a small business owner who needed part time help over christmas break. She runs a skincare line named PREP Cosmetics for young girls. She is the kindest, sweetest, most loving boss I could have wished for and I absolutely adore my job as a sales associate. I get to teach sweet young girls how to take care of their skin.

I know they say that God’s path for us is sometimes nerving and unexpected and so I just really hope that the “tug” to go business was the Holy Spirit speaking to me. There’s no way for me to know if I made the perfect decision, but for now, this job and the opportunities that have popped up give me hope that I might have done so. I’m going to go with it. Wish me the best!

Katie

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