Wednesday, February 27, 2013

changing directions

 photo hmdress_zps25ec3bae.jpg
{dress: H&M; leggings: gift; belt: Forever 21; booties: Old Navy}
{you may have caught this outfit on Instagram today - follow me @hritter18}

"Letting go of a goal is not failure as long as you put another one in its place.
It's not giving up, it's changing directions.
And sometimes that's the most important thing you can do in your life."
~Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

When I heard her speak those words back in October, I was 1. so thankful for my degree in journalism for enhancing my ability to listen and write furiously at the same time, and 2. justified.

As a woman who questions nearly every decision she makes, I have often wondered if going back to graduate school was the right decision for me at this point in my life.
I have often weighed the pros and cons, and you'd think that now halfway through my program that I would have figured it out. 
But with my year-long practicum/internship scheduled to start this May, I am anxious, nervous and questioning how the heck I'm going to pull off working full time and coaching and spending 20 hours a week at an internship. 
Again, I'm questioning if this was the best decision at this time.

When I started college in 2002, I was 100% positive that broadcasting and journalism were the majors for me. Not one sliver of doubt. I never questioned this decision.
Literally the day after graduation in 2006, I started working as a reporter for a local newspaper, because that's what broadcasting and journalism majors do.
But after only 10 months, I was burnt out.
Then I thought I wanted to work in higher ed. So I landed a gig with a higher ed association.
I won't get into the details, but the office environment was not for me. So I got hired by my alma mater's marketing office. And nearly five years later I'm still here.
But it didn't take long before I was questioning whether I had chosen the right career path.
Don't get me wrong, I like what I do, but something has always been missing.

After some soul searching - and some panicky "What is my passion? Do I even have one?" moments - I realized that people are my passion. Specifically, helping people {which may or may not be why I have the hardest time saying "no" to people}.
Sometimes your passion is the one thing you always do, but never give a name.
The light bulb was on, people, and it shone right on my current endeavor - pursuing a master's degree in clinical mental health counseling.

This meant changing directions.
This meant a whole new career path.
This meant admitting I didn't get it right the first time.

And when I heard that quote above come out of Rebecca Skloot's mouth last fall, I knew I had not failed my 18-year-old self, who was so sure of her career path.
I was simply replacing an outdated goal with one that was more closely related to the person I have become. A new goal that challenges me, that leaves me wanting more, and that I love.
My goal is to make a difference in people's lives for the better.

When I start my internship and new career, perhaps I will not question if going back to grad school was a good idea. I hope that I know that it was the best decision for me. And for the people who I will be helping as a counselor.
Looking back, I think it's important to take inventory of your goals and to admit that those goals may have changed. And I think it's important to know that you have not failed just because your goals have changed. You have simply changed directions.
And that is 100% OK.

P.S. Join Shane @ Whispering Sweet Nothings for Project EmpowHER!



Carolyn said...

This is a great way to look at it! And I know you'll do amazing at whatever you decide to do! :)

Ericka said...

Super cute dress, love it!!

Anonymous said...

I've thought a million times that I've chosen the wrong career path/degree. And I have my Master's degree already. But, then I think about it...this IS the career FIELD that I want. I may not have the JOB that I want at the moment, but I am working my way to that job. :)

Kudos to you for realizing what you want to do and taking the next step towards that goal!

smk053078 said...

Okay, we were separated at birth!!! I mean what 18 year old even knows WTF they wanna do for the rest of their lives??? I don't think any of us truly find our passions until we are in our late twenties or thirties. Then for most, it's too late. Sad sad story. But, YOU, you are going the distance to follow your passion. So proud of you and LOVE you to pieces!!

Laney said...

Love your outfit. I sometimes wonder if I what I went to college for was a waste b/c now a days its like you have to lower your standards in order to get a job. To me that's Bs and shows you're embarrassed of what you have in your background. when I'm not.

callie ;) said...

love love love this. i want that quote framed!

Audra said...

I have no doubt that you'll have no doubts about where you're headed once you start your internship. Everything is going to fall into place, and all of your hard work will be SO worth it - because you'll be getting paid to do what you love AND love what you do. Win win!

Mallory said...

I so understand this! I feel like I'm working slightly in reverse of you. I am currently working on a Masters in HE after getting one in psychology hoping to pursue a phd in clinical psych.

Hang in there!

I am so enjoying your blog and what you have to say on all of this. It's pretty great.


Sam said...

It's never too late to pursue a new dream, even if that means giving up an old one. Way to have the courage to do so!

I think we ALL overthink things at times, second guess ourselves... but just follow your gut & you will end up exactly where you need to be.

PS- love the way you tied your belt! & the fact that you snagged that dress for $10! We're getting an H&M in Louisville soon. Finally! ahhh.

Heather said...

Great advice!!! I always believe we are exactly where we are meant to be... and that neon belt pulls together this look so beautifully!

Pearls & Paws

Advocarerunner said...

LOVE that quote! And LOVE your dress. Adorable.

Annie said...

I think we forget that college is supposed a foundation for the rest of our lives. It's supposed to set us up, not trap us into a track even when we're no longer the people who had those dreams or wanted to do that thing. You're tuned in to yourself well enough to know that what your journalism degree lent you in job preparation doesn't fit anymore, and you've tuned in to what does fit, and you're chasing that. I think that's a mature decision. I'm excited to hear how your practicum goes and thrilled to see you chasing your dreams!

Kiki said...

I think most of us do this!! i went for corrections and now i wish and will prob go back for fashion merchandising!! Which means that was a waste of over 40,000! :(( PS you look so cute!!!

Kelly {Sparkles and Shoes} said...

This dress is absolutely gorgeous and I love the neon skinny belt, it really makes the look!

Sparkles and Shoes

Melissa said...

Great outfit and well said! :o)

Janna Renee said...

Those boots are so cute. My goals ALWAYS change, but as long as I am being productive and bettering myself, I don't mind ;)

SkyMommy said...

Good for you for recognizing that you weren't doing something you love. You will be a much happier person for pursuing your passions. Never be afraid to change directions if it's going to make you happier in the long run.

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