When Life Planning Is Not for You

Dear Sista Friend,

As a child, I would sit on my dad’s lap and write songs to sing to him. For my first grade career day, I put on my prettiest dress and proclaimed that I would be the world’s greatest star. I thought I was going to be the best singer in the world. The only thing was, I could not sing one notdancing-in-the-wingse. (I’d like to think my shower voice sounds good though.)

From second grade to eighth grade, I wandered aimlessly, (as most children this age should) not thinking twice about what profession I would eventually pursue.  All of my peers had it all figured out except for me. In eighth grade I stumbled across a graphic design class, where I pretended to be one of the creatives. I messed around with Adobe for a school year, and decided that Graphic Design was the career for me, knowing that I had no genuine interest in that  field. All throughout high school, people would ask, “Faith, what do you want to be when you grow up?” Always uncertain, I would tell them that I wanted to be a Graphic Designer. I even participated in a summer long program that helped me start a Graphic Design business.

During the last semester of high school I quit lying to myself about wanting to be a Graphic Designer, and picked up a new lie for a career.  I would pursue business, despite me hating math and having no clue about what a business major was. They made good money, right? During my first advising appointment  I realized how much math I would have to take and quickly changed my major to advertising. Yet again, indecisive Faith had no clue what she wanted to do with her life. With a mix of being completely unsatisfied with the Intro to Advertising course and not getting into the Advertising school on my first attempt, I stumbled into a communications major. I loved everything that I was learning in the intro level courses, and decided to add another major in public relations. These majors gave me a breadth of knowledge that would be applicable to any career field.  However, months before walking across the stage, I knew that I had no interest in pursuing a career in communications and public relations.

To make a very long story short, I decided that I would attend graduate school halfway across the country. After a very long journey of self exploration, I stumbled into a sector of education that I undoubtedly had a passion for. For the first time ever, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. On this journey, I learned a few a things:

  1. Say Yes!

We always have discussions about when to say no, but let’s talk about when to say yes. Experience is the best teacher, we know this. The only way to figure what we like is through exploration.  Take opportunities that will expand your knowledge and help you grow.  These experiences may not always be flashy, but if they contribute to your betterment, SAY YES!

  1. Don’t Compare Journey’s

jungle-journey-skip-nallI quickly learned that everyone will have their lives figured out before I do.  It took a lot of time and a lot of patience for me to accept my journey and chart my own path.  It is easy to look at our sista friends accepting job offers, and getting married, and solidifying their futures and wonder “when will my time come”?  Trust your own journey, trust your timing and encourage your sista friend through her journey. The best things come with perfect timing and anything that is rightfully yours, cannot be taken away.

  1. Listen to  Your Heart

It sounds cheesy, I know. But when it comes down to love, money, and careers, people always think that they can tell us  what decisions to make and how to live our lives.  As you make steps to move forward in your journey, do those things that are best for you. The best advice that I have received since starting grad school is to never let people “should” you; tell you all of the things that you should be doing.  Seek counsel when necessary, but know when to make your own decisions. Follow your heart; only you know what is best for you.

  1. Embrace Change.

Our parents and grandparents were brought up in a time when working one career for majority of their life was the norm.  In today’s culture, needs within our communities and within the world are constantly changing. Be honest about your happiness and your growth. Don’t stay in spaces that make you miserable and if you are not growing and constantly learning, change your environment. Change is hard, but don’t be afraid to switch things up.

I suck at life planning, I know this. But I am gaining independence and ownership with every piece of my journey.  Sista friend, defining who you are is a hard task but it is doable and possible. There is great power in deciding for yourself about the life that you will live.

Your Sista Friend,
Faith Miller

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