Enough

I hated getting asked the question: “So what are you going to do after you graduate?” This was the question that I got the most during my senior year in college. I wanted to supply people with answers – great answers – but instead, I had to tell them the truth: “I don’t know, really.” For the first time in my life I truly didn’t know what I was going to do. I felt burnt out: I had left high school early skipping my last year entirely, went to a community college to transfer to a university, and my two years there was such a blur. Everything, when looked at as a grand picture, really did go by so fast. My friends all had something whether it was med school and law school, and there I was with no plan. I had considered grad school but all my professors in college warned me not to go. Once, I had a TA tell me that I had better luck in trying to become an actress than to try to later get a job as a professor with an English ph. D. Instilled with the fear of being buried by student loans and crying over essays for a decade in grad school, I decided to take a gap year to see if I still wanted to apply, which takes me to where I am now.

I had applied to be a teaching assistant in Korea before I graduated college. My studying abroad experience last year in England strengthened my love and inner need to get out of where I’d been all my life, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity. As a Korean myself, I had wanted to visit Korea for so long, and although working with children wasn’t my number one priority, I was confident in being able to do the job from my previous experience in tutoring children. To be honest, I also really wanted to get the job to provide everyone with a thrilling answer. No one looked down at me whenever I said that I wasn’t sure of what I was going to do after college, but I felt like they had expectations from me that I had to fulfill – as if I needed to impress them with a grand future. My need to impress them was so strong because I was also an English major, and that I felt, had a poor implication. When I transferred to a four-year university and people asked me why I chose that major I didn’t have a definite answer. “I just want to write,” I said as they stared at me for a real answer. Because of all this, my disappointment was immense when I found out that I didn’t get the teaching job in Korea. I had planned on getting a visa, watched Youtube videos on Korean apartments, worked on for a month to create teaching handouts, and even had an interview but at the end was a short email that declined my application. I was a wreck. Immediately my mind looked at the situation from an extreme angle, feeling betrayed from the very country that I was born in, like I wasn’t accepted there. I concluded that I got declined due to my disability, and maybe I was; I’ll never find out and I think it’s better if I don’t.

I don’t regret having majored in English. I don’t think there would’ve been anything else that would’ve truly fulfilled me. Despite the assumption that it’s totally easy, I took it really seriously, and before developing a technique it was pretty challenging. When I think about making big figures and having security in my life, I wonder what it would’ve been like had I majored in computer science or accounting. But if I could go back, I wouldn’t change my mind. I know that ultimately it’s up to me to make something out of my life with the decisions that I’ve made. Maybe it’s because I’m only 21 but I don’t want to settle yet for a menial job. I’m not saying that I’m better than that. I would get one to gain experience and for the money, but I wouldn’t want to commit to that for the rest of my life. I know sometimes we don’t have a choice and I don’t look down at others for having made that decision. I think it actually takes a lot of inner strength to take that on. But when I look at my notebook, smell the inky black pen permeating through the air as it’s running across the page, when I feel like I need to write just to survive another day, when I read something so brilliant or something that I can completely relate to, I feel like I want to achieve a grand, grand dream.

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