I sat down to write this essay, which asked us to think about our evolution as a writer, and one question popped into my head: You’re asking who I am as a writer? Well, that makes two of us.
I came into college freshman year hell-bent on becoming the next Erin Andrews. Looking back at it, I might want to change that model seeing as she shot herself in the foot career-wise (I mean, the spokeswoman for pro-biotics? Come on, Erin). But that’s besides the bigger point here. I wanted to be a sports broadcaster in the worst way. I thought it was so appealing to be on television talking about sports 24/7, but then I found out that it wasn’t all I had chalked it up to be. After a year and a half chasing that dead-end dream, I decided to switch gears. The greater majority of women in my family took to the education field, so naturally I thought about teaching. The only bad part about this idea is that I have about as much patience as a hungry lion does standing by an unarmed zookeeper; layman’s terms, not a whole lot.
Finally in the fall of my junior year, I’d been thinking about writing for a magazine. I write for two publications on campus so it felt natural to continue this progression after I graduate: move to NYC, live with cockroaches in an outrageously expensive apartment, you know just really make a name for myself. For a while, I actually thought I was golden; however, I have recently fallen victim to what the kids call “burning out.” Now I am a year away from graduation, writing editorial pieces is growing old, and I haven’t the foggiest of where to direct my life.
All that I’m trying to say with this is that my evolution as a writer and a college student has been pretty normal. I’m 21 years old and I still have no clue what I want to do when I grow up. Now I’m not looking for a pity party when I tell you all about my college life cause ain’t nobody got time for that. On the contrary, I think it would be abnormal to have it all figured out from day one…at least that’s what my parents tell me in the midst of my college crises. All I honestly know through all of my unpredictable changes of heart is that I’ve been writing throughout this entire journey, for whatever that’s worth.
That sounds rather blasé, but it’s true. These past few semesters I’ve just been trying to figure out the importance of writing in my life, and working on my minor in writing has only emphasized this more. Ever since I wrote my “Why I Write” essay I realized that writing and I are good pals. He’s got my back and I’ve got his, I confide in him with what I don’t dare tell others, and I just let my hair down around him. Yes, I just described being in a relationship with writing using masculine pronouns– sue me. You might not be a bona fide crazy lady, like yours truly, but this, in my mind, is the phenomenal thing about writing: we all have a different relationship with it. At moments in class I would hear my classmates talk about writing novels or screenplays in their free time and I felt inadequate. Then I thought about how petty and stupid that is to compare my relationship with writing to my peer’s relationship. There is no comparison. So once I quieted my exceedingly competitive mentality and focused selfishly on my relationship with writing, things have been great.
I’ve been allowing myself to be selfish throughout this first semester as a Minor in Writing student in my blog posts. I have been able to write about what I want, which I normally do in the privacy of my journal, but also allow it to seep into the public sphere, which feels pretty spectacular. It’s given me an outlet that I didn’t previously have. My non-academic public writings were always confined to what the Associated Press deemed acceptable and I desperately needed to break free. I mean there is only so much of your own voice that you can put into an article about a Michigan athlete or sports team, which is the better majority of what I write for the yearbook. While it is fun to try to find a new angle to cover a story, nothing really compares to just being completely me in my writing, which I can do and have done in writing a blog. I honestly have felt like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music when she is singing “The Hills are Alive” and dancing in the field of flowers, except I would be having a severe allergic reaction to nature if that were the literal case. I have been getting weekly allergy shots for four years; I know, I just keep getting better as you keep reading.
You know what, I just had an epiphany. After writing this, I’ve realized I don’t really like calling the past couple of years my “evolution as a writer or college student.” I don’t think that’s the right term for me, it’s just not analogous with my situation. I might sound like a stubborn SOB, but I haven’t really changed, transformed, or become this supreme writer over the past few years or even during this semester and to me “evolution” signifies all of these things. I think of a shell of a creature that is just a bare minimum morphing into a superior creature over oodles of years, and I am just in no way that creature. Instead, I see my life as a writer paradoxically. I am on a map-less road trip where my writing is my only fuel. I don’t really have a final destination or stopping point in mind, but as long as I’m on the road, I’ll be home.