I am a sophomore in college with little direction in my life. This absence of a plan is not based on lack of effort or a depletion of options, but rather a plethora of pathways and passions that I want to pursue. I am thankful for having these choices and having so much passion for the various things in life, but my lack of a plan is stressing me out.
In high school I had a plan. I was going to graduate, live at home while I get my associates in fire science, and then move out into the country while working as a firefighter, I may even find myself a wife or two along the way. I saved money to pay for my schooling, began to research how to get a firefighting job, and even trained with the Dallas Fire Department through their explorer program.
However, this plan was heavily influenced by the lack of faith I had in my intelligence and in my financial abilities. Not wanting to be another one of those horror stories, a 35-year-old with a mortgage and student loan debt, trapped in a dead end job with no hope of ever being free from Sally Mae, I never really considered going to a four-year university and getting a degree.
As my senior year was underway a lot of my plan began to fall apart. My parents were moving, I got academically recruited by Texas A&M (however I couldn’t apply because I never bothered to take my SAT), and with the help of my awesome ag teachers I had enough savings and scholarships to pay for the majority of my undergrad. With this disaffirmation of my doubts I did something I never imagined doing. I hastily moved down to College Station, enrolled in community college, and began my adult life. Grasping to find a direction to go.
Now I would love to say that I built a new plan and was on my way, but within a month of being an “adult” the plan I had started to build began to crumble. I was kicked out of community college, well kind of, but that’s a story for another time. And I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. All I knew is that I was not smart enough to be an engineer.
During my first semester I focused on working and getting good grades, maxing out in both categories. I did hundreds of google searches and received a lot of bad advice to follow the money train. This was when oil was booming, so petroleum engineering seemed like the way to go. But I wasn’t smart enough for that. Luckily my girlfriend at the time did not believe this, and encouraged me to give it a try because I can always Q-Drop if it was too hard.
Turns out that unlike in high school, where I never applied myself, college math and science was easy. All I had to do was study. I managed to pull a 4.0 my freshman year and figured I basically had automatic admission into the Petroleum department at Texas A&M.
For one reason or another I was not accepted into that department, but I was granted admissions into Biological and Agriculture Engineering. I reluctantly went to this department with every intention of transferring at the end of the semester. However, I got a little cocky with my grades and did not get the perfect GPA to transfer in. So again I found myself in shambles without options at the turn of the new year. Or so I thought.
I had all winter break to lifeguard, aka have deep thoughts about my life while watching people swim. This reflection opened my eyes to all the possibilities and pathways I can take. I recognized that I should not limit myself to something that seems straight forward, and that I should not pick a major solely based on a well-paying, easy to secure job straight after graduation. With this I began to evaluate all my passions and all my interests creating a river delta of paths to possibly follow.
This semester is all about investigating those paths like Lewis and Clark, and narrowing my options. Which I have done, but I still have three or four choices, and not a lot of time left to choose.
I am a Christian man, and with this I believe that God has a plan for my life, a plan that did not involve me working as a firefighter or in the oil fields, so that’s why those ideas never panned out. Over the past week I was reminded that he has a plan and bad times may just be preparation for my future, that I need to live by faith, and trust in him. Which is a nice reassurance as I try to make decisions that will shape the rest of my life.
I know that God has a plan, and that if he is on my side, and I put my mind to and have my heart behind it. Even the more challenging paths of going to med school or publishing a book, will work out. Yet I feel that God put my life into Google maps but accidentally left the directions encrypted when he gave it to me. He knows what which direction I should go at the fork in the road, but I am sitting on the ground trying to teach myself how to read his encrypted map. So I am at a loss, prayerfully weighing the options, hoping that a plan becomes clear, so I can stop sitting, put on my ruck, and begin the rest of my life.
So I challenge you to not make my mistakes of not believing in yourself, and trying to take the simple and easy way. But rather put effort into your plans, your goals, and know that if your mind is in it, your heart is behind you, and God is on your side, that any crazy plan can be reached. As always; make good choices, share if you liked what I said, comment if you have something to add, and I’ll see you on Thursday.