Friday, April 6, 2012

On Following Your Dreams

Happy Friday!  We made it!  Although I typically have pretty crazy week days, this week marked my first official week back in the classroom.  That's right- I survived my first week of interior design classes at the Art Institute!!  If we happen to be new friends, I'd love to catch you up on what's been happening in my life.  Although I don't often get too personal on my blog, today I felt compelled to share my story, in case it might speak to someone or encourage them to take a risk. 

I graduated college with a bachelor's degree in business in 2010 and went straight to work for a reputable energy corporation.  I thought that my life was all figured out, and I patted myself on the back for landing a relatively "good" job straight out of college.  Surely I had made it!  

But wouldn't you know, I began experiencing a certain uneasiness about two months in to my new job.  Deep down, I wasn't fulfilled.  I often asked myself, "Is this it?"  Had I truly gone to college and spent my whole life preparing to enter the workforce, only to experience unhappiness and disillusionment 2 months in to my new career?  So, I did what I figured any normal person would do- I became really good at suppressing that unhappiness!  I lied to everyone about "how much I loved my new job" and "yes, I do enjoy what I do" and "yes, I am lucky to have a stable job in an uncertain economy." I had always heard you weren't supposed to like your job, so I figured it was normal to hate going to work.  

To satiate my creativity, I started a blog, I read design websites, and I antiqued and dreamed of decorating my first home.  I regretted that I hadn't majored in a more creative field, but I also knew I had a good major and that I should make the most of it.  In my free time, I could do what I really loved to do: design.

This kept me satisfied for a good year or so, until finally I couldn't deny the fact that it wasn't normal to cry everyday when you left work.  It wasn't normal to count how many years I had left til retirement at the age of 23.  Although it seems so simple to me now, I had no idea how I could ever change career paths.  So I started reading stories of other bloggers who had taken a similar leap of faith, quit their jobs, and chased their dreams.  People like Alex, Liz, Mackenzie, Roxy, and Julia.  I emailed fellow bloggers for advice and support, asking what they did to make a change, to pursue their passion despite the risk.  And, I prayed.  A lot.  I knew that God wanted me to be in a role that glorified Him the most.  In my mind, I thought that that could be interior design.  But maybe it wasn't.  So I prayed simply for the proper doors to be opened or closed and that the path I should follow be made clear.  

And after praying, I sent out a few emails on a whim and applied to the Art Institute of Houston for their interior design program.  I knew that my current job could help me pay for school, and thought the temporary answer might be to continue working during the day and go to school at night.  Still, I sent an email out to the builder that built my parent's home and asked if she knew of any interior designers that might need an assistant or an intern.  And then I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And once I was sure the builder had brushed off my email, I woke up one morning and saw an email from her.  Yes, she did in fact know of a few designers who needed help.  She would call them and get back to me soon.  And there I sat, in utter shock.  Was this it?

A whirlwind of three days went by where I interviewed with a residential interior design firm and was offered a position assisting them and I was accepted in to the Art Institute of Houston.  The right doors had been opened, and the path (at least for now) had been made clear.   And for the next week or so, I was thrust in to a constant state of amazement.  Had this truly happened?

I don't want to appear too idealistic.  This has not been an easy process.  Of course, there was resistance from my parents, snide comments from coworkers, a few "why would you go back to school?" remarks.  But for the most part, there has been support and encouragement.  My passion finally outweighed my fear and I knew I just had to go for it.  

At the end of the day, if I won't listen to my heart and make the necessary changes to find fulfillment in my career, than do I really believe in myself?  If I don't believe in myself, who will?  There is so much negativity in the world, and I quickly learned in my first job that people resent those who are bold enough to take serious risks. I have been so inspired by the blogging community and all the passion I see in fellow bloggers.  You all inspire me to work harder, dream bigger, and get back up when I fall down.  I hope that if you have an uneasiness about your career path, you will recognize that and address it much sooner than I did.  You truly can do it!  I am living proof.

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