Confession. I entered SF State with the firm and absolute vision to study cinema and enter the film industry. However, circumstances led me to my present state, an undeclared sophomore with no clear idea of what to do with his future. Typical college student dilemma, don’t you think?
I don’t understand myself why I hesitate. All throughout high school, I had my mind set that I wanted to be a filmmaker. Not an electrical technician. Not an accountant. And certainly not a doctor. Such well-paying, yet bland positions held no interest for me. I wanted the life of making movies.
In a way, this was how I tried to break free of stereotypes. Most of the females in my family seem to have become nurses. The men seem to have ended up with odd jobs or jobs that weren’t exactly significant. In a way, I wanted to rise up from this background and become successful, and I wanted to do it from behind a camera.
The reason for me not declaring my major right away has almost been lost with time. I believe it was because of a remark someone once said about cinema majors having trouble picking out classes, or perhaps she said it was such a competitive field that it was difficult getting the classes. I somehow let these words linger in the back of my head, up to the day I filled out my application form and marked “Undeclared” in the major section.
I decided it was no big deal, that this would give me the opportunity to think things over for a year or so, take time to explore other fields, and make damn certain that cinema was my final option. I took a course in creative writing, had two ethnic studies courses, but otherwise went through Gen Ed classes with the enthusiasm of someone having to pay the electrical bill. In short, I felt like I was accomplishing nothing.
All the while, it was as if everyone was leaving me behind. People took jobs. Friends seemed to be figuring out what they wanted to do at college. It was like being a fish that was lost in the middle of the sea, unable to make its way back to its school of familiar faces.
I wanted to take a job. I begged my parents to let me. I needed something to stave off my restlessness, to be able to get up and do something worthwhile. My parents work hard to pay for my tuition, and even give me allowance (look at me, 19 years old and still receiving lunch money) to spend on each week. I felt pathetic, sheltered, over-nurtured. Inside, I wanted to prove my worth, that I could earn my own money through my own hard work.
I am closer than ever to making a decision for my major. But hadn’t I already decided in my heart long ago? This hesitation in what I know and don’t know, it keeps holding me back. I made the excuse that I don’t cut my hair when I’m stressed, but in truth I think I’ve been growing it out in order to try and look different on the outside. My real self, the one behind this mess of hair and unshaven stubble, is just a detached soul unwilling to move forward with his life.
But maybe that’s okay.
Maybe it’s meant to be like this, and not just me, but for many people. To say I know where I should be in 5 years would be nothing short of a lie. But does anyone truly know where they “should” be in 5 years? Or 10? Or even 50? It’s not a matter of where people “should” or “shouldn’t” be, I think. Futures are never planned out, or at least, they are never clear to the people searching for one. Perhaps this is what the past year has taught me.
So here I am, a job application and declaration of major forms on the desk, exams and papers to think about, and no clear idea of where I will be in 5 years. These are just some of the things that keep me awake at night, staring at a ceiling, feeling it stare back with its expressionless demeanor. Deep down, my intense need to succeed trembles with conviction. What I shall succeed in, I still don’t know. Until then, the world will turn, just like it always does.
It feels good to write my thoughts out like this. I feel like I’m narrating my own story. I wonder if the ending is any good.