For the first time since I started college nine years ago, I’m sitting here on January 1st with a feeling of total freedom. When I started at Trevecca, I was looking forward to a career of radio and television, planning on becoming some sort of broadcaster and working my way up from small markets like everyone in that line of work does. When I realized in the spring of my Senior year, as I was doing an internship, that I didn’t want to do that kind of thing anymore, I kind of trapped myself into working temp jobs while I tried to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I thought maybe I’d be able to put my English minor to use as a writer or editor, but I wasn’t able to find a job doing that. So I just worked office jobs while I learned more about who I was and what I should do. A 22-year-old having an existential crisis, but not exactly full of freedom at all.
When I decided to move back home in hopes of going to UNC-Charlotte and becoming an architect, I knew that I was locking myself into three years (well, three-and-a-half) of constant work and hardly any freedom. There are, of course, the kind of choices and new openings that learning a new field and designing things brings, but as far as my life goes I was a student, and only a student. My life was driving from home to school, learning and growing, and then driving back home late at night. All to get a Master’s degree and become what I think I’m supposed to be.
And now I have that degree and I’m incredibly proud. I don’t think a person’s worth is dependent on their level of education, one grandpa didn’t graduate high school but ended up running the NSA print shop in D.C. and leading their transition from paper to computers, and tons of my good friends never finished college because they started doing more important things like music. But I like being educated and I respect people who are. My dad has two Master’s degrees, a few of my friends already have their own degree and are on their way to Doctorates, and I’ve looked up to them. An advanced degree has always meant something to me. As much as I’ve never cared about the grades I get or trying too hard to impress my professors, I’ve wanted to get this Master’s because it’s something to be proud of myself for. When people ask me what I do, I kind of really like telling them that I just got my Master’s in Architecture.
So today is the first day of a new year and a new life. I have a degree, I have the ability to look for work all over the world and move anywhere for the right job, and I finally have the freedom to be with friends, read a book, or watch a movie without feeling guilty for neglecting my school work. I can eat black eyed peas today and think that maybe this year really will be prosperous, because this year can be anything at all right now.
This kind of freedom is a new feeling, and I’ve gotta tell you, it feels pretty fantastic.