Why I Changed My Major

I was happy as an English major for about two weeks, and one of those weeks was orientation. After the first week of classes I found myself feeling very bogged down by all the reading and writing. I knew it wasn’t just the regular exhaustion that comes from reading textbooks and writing essays because I was enjoying my other classes. After I posted my piece called Why I Chose the Major (and minor!) That I Did, I found myself questioning my reasons for hanging on to the English department, but my worries started a couple of weeks before that. Hold on friends, because this is going to be a long one.

During the third week, I was in my acting class when I had the (somewhat obvious) realization that I didn’t want to study anything other than drama. I was again greeted with my frustration at the lack of a theatre degree being offered at my university, and thought about switching to Film & Television. After class I went to talk to my teacher about whether or not he felt me getting a degree in English would be worthwhile. Having been an English major himself, he said he thought it would be beneficial, but I should probably look into adding a business major as well or a business minor. I thought about it, and the next week went to my advisor to tell her I wanted to switch. She suggested I speak with the business department and then said she also thought sticking with the English degree would be a good idea since I’d gain knowledge in analyzing plays. I spent the next couple of weeks trying to schedule a meeting with the business department while still writing literary analysis essays and reading Chaucer.

I ended up being unable to meet with the business department due to too many miscommunications and confusing emails. I put my plans to change my major on hold, and heeded my mother’s advice to remember that I was only in my first quarter of college and had plenty of time. I continued through the quarter, hating my major all the way. I wasn’t excited about what I was studying, and I found myself dreading going to my classes and reading the assignments. I know (and knew then) that no matter what I study there will be moments where I simply do not want to do the work or go to the class, but I also know (and knew then) that I was miserable. I watched the people in my English classes excitedly discussing the works we were reading. They were all contributing to the conversations and I couldn’t think of a single thing to add. They were all coming into class with smiles on their faces and staying back at the end to talk with the professor some more. I, on the other hand, watched the clock the whole time and couldn’t wait to leave.

In the end, there were two main moments where I knew I needed to switch my major for my own peace of mind. The first came over Thanksgiving break when I turned in an essay for my College Writing class. I didn’t receive a grade I was proud of, and was especially hurt because I had been so proud of the essay. I had worked hard on it, and didn’t know what else to do to make it better. I sat on the couch and cried about how angry with myself I was, and how all I wanted was to be out of the English department. It was a moment where I truly did not care about writing, and I had never felt that way before. The second, and bigger, moment came the week after Thanksgiving. I was trying to finish my final paper for my Survey of British and American literature class, and, while on the phone with my mom, realized that I didn’t care about Shakespeare. Okay, I did care about Shakespeare, I just didn’t want to write about him anymore. In high school, I loved talking about, reading about, and writing about Shakespeare. I used to read his plays and memorize his sonnets just for fun. But, seemingly all of a sudden, that love was gone. I simply did not care about Shakespeare the same way I used to. I was not excited about what I was studying, and I wanted out.

Before going into what my new major is and why, let’s quickly go through the list of majors I considered before: Film & Television, Business, Journalism, Communications, and Sociology. After crying on the couch to my mom about how much I disliked being and English major, I pulled up my school’s website and went through the list of majors they offered. I settled on Sociology, and a couple weeks after returning to school walked into the building for the School of Social Work & Sociology, and asked if I could speak with someone from the Sociology department. I loved the idea of studying sociology because I’ve always wanted to use theatre to help people and to better society, and figured what better way to prepare for that than to study society? I was given a business card and sent off in the right direction before walking into the office and talking with a Sociology professor for a few minutes. During our conversation, he was really selling the research aspect and also the connection Sociology has to English. He also suggested I add an English minor, which was just the opposite of what I wanted to hear. So, after the five minute meeting concluded I promptly went back to the main office and, without really thinking about why, asked if I could meet with someone from the Social Work department.

I was immediately led down a hallway and into the office where I spent half an hour meeting with the head of the department. As I talked with the professor, I felt myself growing more and more excited about my future at my school. We talked about my drama minor and how Social Work would help me accomplish my goals. Later that day, in my acting class, I was talking with a girl who happened to be a Social Work major. My teacher overheard and asked if I was thinking of switching from English, and I said I was. He asked if I had ever heard of drama therapy, and that question is how I came to write this blog post. Put simply, drama therapy is the intentional use of theatre  to help people actively and externally process their emotions, often through the use of exercises and improvisation. I spent that night researching drama therapy and realized that it is everything I have been saying I want to do without knowing there was an actual term for it. The next morning I went to the records office and officially changed my major from English to Social Work.

The new plan is to get my BSW and then go to graduate school to work towards my masters and certification in Drama Therapy. When I go back to school in January I will also be adding another minor in Psychology because every grad program requires me to have a little background in psychology. I still plan to open my own theatre where I will act, teach, and direct, but the idea of drama therapy feels right to me. I am extremely excited to head back to school and get to work on this degree, and I am even more excited to learn more about drama therapy and to eventually become a drama therapist.

Part of me was sad to leave the English major behind. I had spent so many years gearing up for it that I never stopped to consider the idea of me not even enjoying it. I didn’t like the idea of giving up something my younger self was so excited for, until I realized that my younger self always wanted my current self to be happy and being an English major wasn’t going to make that happen. I am so happy with my change of major. I am excited to learn more about what I know and learn answers to questions I don’t even know I have. But even more so, I am really looking forward to continue waking up excited.   

What Coming Home for Thanksgiving Was Like

On November 16th I packed a backpack and a duffel bag and climbed into the passenger seat of my friend Jamie’s car. We picked up another student and drove to the small airport (with two gates). We checked in, went through security (I got an extra screening, because of course I did), and waited to board our flight. Jamie and I couldn’t fit our carryon bags on the plane so we had to get them gate checked. We flew up to Seattle, managed to get our bags back, and then went to our separate gates- her next plane headed for San Francisco, and mine headed for Sacramento.

I landed in California around 11:00 at night, and finally got to see my brother for the first time in two months. My mom drove us back home where my passive aggressive puppy wasn’t impressed with my return. I talked with my brother, unpacked a bag in my own room, and went to sleep around 1:30 in the morning. When I woke up, I poured myself some coffee, lit a candle for the first time in what had felt like forever, and talked to my mom a little bit. We went to my grandparent’s house for Sabbath lunch, and it was so good to see them.

Coming home for Thanksgiving Break had really good moments. Seeing my family, sleeping in my own room, and not wearing shoes in the shower were some of my favorite things. I spent a whole day with my grandparents, used my exercise bike while watching Thanksgiving episodes of West Wing, and ate food at a dining room table instead of from a cafeteria to-go box. I had a “Friendsgiving” where I spent time with people I hadn’t really talked to in over a year, and also got to catch up with one of my best friends who is still in high school. I watched A Muppet’s Christmas Carol with my family, played card games with my mom and brother, and got to spend some time by myself in a familiar environment. Thanksgiving Break was exactly what my soul needed.

Coming home for Thanksgiving Break also had some weird moments. My first night back had me feeling like I was walking through memories. I knew where everything was, and I quickly fell back into old routines, but it all felt familiar in an old kind of way. Whenever I left my room I found myself checking to make sure I had my student ID so I could get back in (as a matter of fact, I completely blanked and accidentally left my house key back in Washington). There were things I’d missed, like my grandparents getting a new kitchen table and my mom getting their old one. I took my pillows to school with me so while at home I had to borrow one, as well as taking the living room throw blanket because all my warm bedding is also back in Washington. I went to Target on the first Saturday night to get small bottles of shampoo and conditioner to keep at home for breaks, and refused to let my mom pay for it so I could still feel independent.

I needed to come home. I needed the break from getting up early and staying up late to study, and I needed to spend quality time with my family. But I quickly realized that college has been good for me. Yes, there have been times where I have felt very stressed and I did have a full on breakdown the week before going home for break, but it’s still good for me. I like being around my friends all the time. I like having the option of going to get crème brûlée at 8:00 at night and getting up at 6:30 to go see a balloon stampede, both just because. School has started to feel like home- in fact, I caught myself saying “back at home” more than a couple of times, and it felt strange. I like feeling independent, even if I do still need help more than I’d like. I’m happy in Washington, with my dorm space and little social circle. I’m happy that Fall quarter is almost over, and I’m happy with the direction I’m headed in. But even with all these happy things, I’m still happy to be going home for Christmas in a few weeks. More time with my family is still greatly needed, but hopefully this time my dog will be a little less passive aggressive…

The Size of God

I have a friend who once tried to measure the size of God. His mathematical and logical nature made it hard to explain how he did it to my brain that is constantly filled with lines from poetry and song lyrics instead of formulas, but he tried. From what I could gather, it had to do with stars and the distance between planets. 

I think. 

Either way, I find the concept really cool. Personally, I'm definietly more of the type that's okay noticing something cool and being okay with just looking at it instead of disecting it to find out more, but I still found this facinating. We were lab partners in Chemistry at the beginning of my Junior year of high school, and would spend a few chemistry experiments going back and forth between recording observations and discussing beliefs and ideas. 

Towards the end of that school year, I ran for Religious Vice President for my school's SA. The thought of running for anything had been running around in my head for a few months, but originally I'd planned on running for something smaller, like one of the positions for Officer at Large. I only decided to run for RVP about a week before the election after learning that the current RVP wasn't planning to run again. To make a short story even shorter, I ran unopposed, still took it very seriously, and I was the RVP for my school's SA during the 2017-2018 school year.

The night of my Junior/Senior banquet, after much of the excitement had died down and I was sitting in a chair clutching about five candles, I got to talking with the past RVP, who ended up being one of my best friends and is now my college roommate (hi, Annaliese). We talked about a few things, from our mutual interest in blogs to our differences in candle preferences. At one point we got to talking about being the Religious Vice, and how we had both run unopposed, and at the same time we both said something like "it's weird that no one else wants to be the RVP." Neither of us could think of a definite answer as to why this is the case, but we both figured it had to do with no one wanting to seem "too religious."

If that is the reason, I completely understand. I opened my speech by saying that even though my dad is a pastor, I didn't want that mixed with the fact I was running for RVP make me seem like some sort of religious nut. For the entirety of high school, I had been really self conscious about my spirituality and how I wanted others to perceive me when it came to God, religion, etc. The idea that someone would not want to run for a position with the word "religious" in the title for fear they would be deemed too religious didn't surprise me. Over the years I'd stopped thinking of myself as religious and more as a spiritual person, so holding the title of RVP felt a little odd. 

I tell you both of these stories because I've been thinking lately about the different ways people go about their religious/spiritual sides of life. My friend I mentioned earlier is definitely logical, and maybe he connects with God through science. Other people I know connect with God through music or nature, and some really do find him in church and with sermons. We all measure the size of God in different ways, and that's a good thing. I may not have a desire to measure the actual size of God, but I know that he is big enough to be found in lots of different ways. We don't have to be super religious to find God, because I don't think he needs us to be something we simply aren't. I believe that all we need to do is find a way that works for us and be willing for that way to evolve over time if it does. God is more than big enough for us to find him however we need to. 

Costco, Tide Pools, and Kitchen Fires (Otherwise Known as My Sixteenth Birthday)

I turn 19 in eleven days, which means it’s been almost three years since my sixteenth birthday and I can probably talk about it without cringing too much. I’m not sure that’s possible, but let’s find out, shall we? My sixteenth birthday was spent on a biology trip near Mendocino, CA.  Before I go into the full story, let's quickly review the events that transpired:

- I got lost in Costco. Twice
- I had to kill harmless sea bug things that live in shells. 
- I caught a kitchen towel on fire.
- And then, as if that wasn't enough, two days later on Halloween, I threw up all over the cabin floor while watching Mulan.

I think it's important to mention that when I found out the biology trip started on my birthday, I almost didn't go. It took me a few days to decide what to do, and even then, after deciding to go, I wasn't sure it was the right decision. But I went anyway, my mom's advice to stick with my choices still ringing in my ear. I got in the car with four of my best friends (who sang happy birthday to me once every hour, on the hour) and was surprised to hear that before we could go to Mendocino, our driver had to stop at Costco so we could actually have food during the trip. Here's the thing- I've always sort of, kind of, really hated Costco. I've never had a good experience, and this birthday trip was certainly no exception. While there, I got lost twice and both times it took me a few minutes to find my friends. It is worth noting that while it's never fun being lost somewhere, being lost on your birthday is worse. Needless to say, I was very happy when our little group finally left Costco. 

Like I mentioned, we were going to Mendocino for a biology trip. The main activity of our first day (my birthday) was going to the nearby tide pools to collect the harmless sea bug things and store them to talk about later. To do this, you had to take a knife and scoop them out of their shell and then put them in a plastic bag (this would kill them, by the way). Now, take a minute and think about all you know about me. It's been two years, you've learned a lot about me in that time. Do you think this is something I would enjoy? You're right, I absolutely hated it. I hated it so much, in fact, that I actually started to cry. I didn't bring a knife with me (obviously), so someone else lent me theirs, and I never used it. Instead, I wandered off to the side a little, next to some rocks and called my mom. I missed her. In that moment, I whole heartedly regretted my decision to spend my birthday away from my home and my family. I was sad, and I really didn't want to stay at the tide pools where the little organisms were practically being massacred. But I stayed, talked to my mom, and tried not to cry. 

Before leaving for the trip, everyone who was going had to sign up for a day and a meal to help make. Me and a few of my friends decided to sign up for the first meal because we figured then it was over with and we wouldn't have to worry about it later. I was put in charge of beans, and had been told to wrap a towel around the handle of the pot so I wouldn't burn my hand. While stirring the beans, the towel somehow caught on fire. I took the towel off the handle and held it out in front of me, paralyzed in fear. A friend of mine grabbed the towel and shook it to put out the fire. So, yeah, I set a towel on fire and just stood there because I didn't know what to do. After eating, my group went back into the kitchen to clean up, and at some point I was left alone, drying a dish. I was told I wasn't allowed to leave the kitchen, and I quickly realized why when I heard whispers from my friends behind the door. I was finally allowed back into the dining area, and set in front of a makeshift cake made of tiny brownies. People sang happy birthday, and there's a video somewhere in which I look extremely uncomfortable. I was happy though, because even though there had been a few sucky moments on my birthday, my friends had still done something to celebrate it.

A couple days later, on our last day of the trip, everyone in my cabin decided to watch Mulan after learning that I'd never seen it before (spoiler alert- I still haven't). A couple people on the trip hadn't been feeling great, but everyone had been fine after a few hours. I, on the hand, started feeling incredibly nauseous about a quarter of our way through the movie. Halfway through, I had to go back to my own bed because I was feeling so awful. While my friends continued to watch the movie, I lay in my bed, trying to figure out why I wasn't feeling great. At one point, after all the lights were turned out, I got up and tried to get into the bathroom. It was a really dark cabin, and I couldn't find the right door knob. My searching took too long, and I wound up throwing up all over the floor. My dear friend (like the angel she is) took it upon herself to clean everything up so I could go back to sleep.

So, yeah. Not my best birthday (or birthday weekend), and not exactly a sweet sixteen. My 16th birthday was the first year I was away from any family for the majority of the day. My 19th birthday, which is in a couple weeks, will be the first birthday I spend without any family at all. This has got me to thinking about how we build families for ourselves. I'm pretty lucky that my birthday is right after Parent's Weekend, so I'll have my mom there for the days before my birthday, but for my birthday itself, I won't have any family around. I will, however, have my roommate. I'll have those in my acting class. I'll have the people I work with, the classes that make me happy, and an environment that never seizes to make me smile. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by all these people, and I figure as long as I don't have to kill little sea bugs, it'll be a pretty great birthday. 

It may not have been my best birthday, but this is one of my favorite pictures from the day :-)

It may not have been my best birthday, but this is one of my favorite pictures from the day :-)

Why I Chose the Major (and minor!) That I Did

As of right now, I am majoring in English and minoring in Drama. You know, just so I can be completely unemployable... just kidding. Something I learned pretty quickly after deciding where I was going to college is that after asking where you're going, people will ask you what your major is, and then if you're majoring in one of the Humanities, they will ask you why. I'm not sure why this is, but a lot of the time people don't know what kind of job you can get with a degree in one of the Humanities. I have some friends who are pre-law, and others who want to be teachers. Some of us just want to study something that interests them while they figure out what they want to do when they graduate.

At first, I chose to major in English because it's all I've ever wanted to major in. Now, I'm majoring in English because I believe that it will make me both a better writer and a better actor. When you read books and learn the history of the authors, you get inside the heads of characters and the head of the person who created them. This teaches you empathy, which is so important in being a good actor. When you're empathetic, you're able to understand why you're character does the things they do, and you can then decide how you want to play it out. Of course, the writing is also a huge part for me. I love reading, and I love writing. Someday (hopefully soon), I want to publish a book. Whether it's self-published or not, I want to see a book I've written on the shelf of a bookstore someday.

At my school, there aren’t many other English majors. In fact, there are only four of us in my Freshman class. This means we are all pretty close-knit, especially with the professors. At my school, if you are an English major, you take all the typical English writing and literature classes, but then later on decide if you want your concentration to be on creative writing or on literature. I still haven’t decided which one I want to choose, but luckily I don’t have to make that decision for another couple of years. My general classes still revolve around my major, especially the ones in the history and social science departments.

I am minoring in Drama for what should be obvious reasons if you've read even a couple posts on this blog. I'm minoring in Drama because I want to work in a theatre someday, and then later run my own theatre company. If I'm being totally honest, I'm only minoring in Drama because at my school you can't major in it. Right now I am taking an acting class and I absolutely love it. Right now I am writing this in the fifteen minutes I have before meeting with another girl in the class to go over a scene we’re performing together in a couple weeks. At my school, the drama department is pretty well established. Auditions are mandatory, which is great practice, and I’m also part of the drama club which has events (like musical nights or improve games) every couple weeks.

I love the major and minor that I've chosen, and I'm excited to keep working towards my degree for the next four years. Even so, I'm open to things changing. I highly doubt I'll wind up with a degree in something to do with math or science (especially since I couldn't think of a degree in that department to mention here), but I may decide at some point that I'd prefer to major in Strategic Communication for the same reasons I chose to major in English. I may also decide to add a minor in business so I have more information for when I decide to start the theatre company. Who knows, I may really decide to go in a completely new direction. My point is, I love my major and minor, but I'm also open to other options. All I know for sure is I'm excited about what I might get to do while I'm here. 

Me during a monologue performance earlier this week :-)

Me during a monologue performance earlier this week :-)

Why I Write - 2 Year Anniversary Post

Today marks exactly two years since I made this website go live two days early. Today it has been two years since I decided to start a blog without really knowing how. I hadn't really written anything like this before. The first pieces I wrote were 2-3 paragraphs, whereas now my average piece has 6 paragraphs. I started by wanting to tell stories of my life and share my poems, but at that point I wasn't doing much with my life and I'd only written one poem. 

In the past year, I went through my senior year of high school, graduated, and started college. I moved to a new state. I finally got my driver's permit. A lot has changed with this website itself, too. I've written more open letters, and I've started releasing a monthly poem. I've added a few new series pieces, too (100 Words and  Detox Tea Talks come to mind first). I updated the format a while back and at the same time changed the About page (which received another update after I graduated). I also completely took off the photography page, because I realized that while I like saving pictures I've taken, it's not something I feel the need to showcase, and it isn't one of my priorities. Instead, I've made a new section entirely devoted to theatre and my journey of getting to where I want to be. But what's happened in the past two years?

In the past two years, I've gone from a scared new kid in California to a college Freshman in Washington who is finding her way. In the past two years, I have gone from someone with ideas for books but no copies to someone with a book written, edited, and ready. I started this blog so I'd have something to do to distract myself from starting at a new school. I started it so I'd feel like I was doing something that could benefit me in the future. I started it so I'd get the chance to practice my writing and have a space to talk about things I loved. 

Now, I write because I want to share my stories. I write because I believe I have something to say, and I write because I think I have good ideas. Now, I don't always need this website to distract myself, but sometimes it still serves that purpose. Usually, this website is simply my place to keep my stories safe. It is a place that still lets me share things I love and I still think this may benefit me in the future, but now this whole thing is more than that. 

This website has made me a better writer, a better reader, and I think it's actually made me a better person. I do more now. I try things, and I take risks. I think that's because I figure that even if something doesn't work out the way I want it to, at least I'll get a story out of it and can have a new piece to post here. This website has made me a little less afraid of messing up. While I didn't need one, this website has given me an excuse to simply live a little bit more. When you put your soul out there, you have to be brave. You have to be okay with being vulnerable and you have to be okay with people reading your vulnerability, no matter what they'll do with it. I'm still working on not letting irrelevant criticism bother me, but it's hard. 

In the past year, this little website's audience has grown, so hello to those of you who are still pretty new. Thanks for hanging out here and listening to what I have to say. Thank you to those of you who have been here the entire time (all four of you ;-)), and thank you to those of you who stop in every once in a while and leave nice comments for me to see later. It's been a good two years, and I'm excited for the next two (and beyond). Here's to making mistakes, succeeding at new things, and writing about all of it.