By: Michelle Naim | Opinions  | 

To All the Aspiring Creators Out There

Many of you might not know this about me, but I was dead set, one-hundred-and-ten percent sure, that I was going to pursue a nutrition major when I began college. Looking back to the beginning of last year, when I started college, I knew exactly what I was doing with my life. Now, however, I’m not so sure.

Well, I am, but it’s complicated. Before I arrived at Stern, I attended community college in Los Angeles. Although I always had a gut feeling that I loved and appreciated English literature and writing, I was fairly certain that I was going to lead a career in the STEM field. In the middle of my first year of college, I was getting ready to take chemistry and physics courses in order to start fulfilling the requirements that other universities I would eventually transfer to demanded for their nutrition and dietetics program. A slew of mathematics, chemistry, biology, and physics courses stood out to me as the main focus of the major. That made sense. After all, nutrition is all about food and the way in which it affects our bodies. It was obvious to me that I would be spending my time in college taking courses in the STEM field. Then the mid-college crisis hit.

Most college students experience a mid-college crisis at some point. It’s most common after one’s sophomore year, when he or she hits the mid-mark of the four-year experience. Usually, the crisis surrounds the fact that the student’s college career is almost over. Mine was different in that it started in the middle of my first year of college and was more about my future than about my college career coming to a close. However, like most others, my crisis came from a very deep place.

I consider myself a fairly physically active person, which explains my desire to pursue nutrition. My problem, though, was that I hated chemistry, physics, and math. They were not only my poorest courses in school, but I didn’t even like doing them, nor did I find them interesting. I was brought up with the expectation and knowledge that I was to pursue a career in the medical or STEM field because that was a “guaranteed job,” and most people in my culture pursued similar fields of work. That was just the norm. I don’t know the last time I heard a Persian girl choose an English, philosophy, or any humanities major for that matter. Well, here I am.

I think I’m an English/journalism major now. It’s weird to say and ever weirder to know that I started at such a different place. I think, however, that the main reason I was afraid to go with my gut was because I, and most of the world, do not understand the importance of expressing oneself through language and words. During the times of the Renaissance, and even not so long ago, topics such as philosophy, rhetoric, language, music, and art were the “hot” areas of study. People who were gifted in these areas were some of the most brilliant minds. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Plato, and Mozart are just a handful of some of the great writers we have been gifted with.

I started doing some writing, and realized that I had been writing for most of my life. I kept a diary. In high school I was in all the honors and AP track English classes and one of the editors for my high school newspaper. Every night I looked forward to the hour I spent in my pajamas before bed with a hot cup of tea in my hands sending emails to professors, friends, and job prospects.

People do not realize the head scratching, the late nights, and the somersaults we writers have to go through to find some creative spark. People think that no hard work goes into being a musician, or an English major, and that it is the easy way out. It’s the major for people that have no direction in life, those that have no talents that can be marketed immediately. Well, I’m here to tell you that’s a blatant lie. The deepest thinkers, those who can create and express themselves, have skills that many people going to medical or engineering school are not going to have. They know how to communicate effectively, but they are also passionate and smart, and most of them are just as capable of pursuing a career in any field (even STEM). Most of them have big dreams, and many of them are overachievers, always pushing the boundaries. They can touch a heart or mind with one word.

So to all the creators out there, I salute you. I salute you for the hardships you go through to prove to people that you’re not “just an English major.” You take your craft very seriously and you put your entire being into your art whether it be a sport, instrument, or newspaper. Keep killing it.