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A Change in my Path

Have you ever had a moment where you don’t really regret the choices you’ve made, but yet you wish you would have done something different? Lately I have been really reflecting on what I could have done differently in my time at school. My life has not turned out in a negative way, but as I look at where I am now, different choices would have been helpful.

One of the main things I wish I could go back and change from my time is school would be the chance to experiment with artistic classes. When I was a young child I decided what I wanted to do was be in the medical field. I loved the idea of going to a medical school and getting a career that would allow me to help others. As I went through my years in high school I had the chance to take music or art class. Unfortunately, I could only pick one and considering all my friends were in music and I didn’t care for the art teacher, I chose music class. I learned quickly, while I enjoyed listening to music, singing was not in my wheel-house of talents. Having my friends to hang out with in class and go on choir trips helped pass the time and make my years of choir enjoyable, but I almost wish I would have decided at that age to go ahead and learn a little about art.

As I entered college I had the same ambition to be in the medical field. I registered for all the classes I knew I had to have, such as English, Math, Science, Psychology, etc. But when it came time to pick the art elective, once again I chose to go into music appreciation. My choice was mainly due on the fact that the Art teacher had a bad reputation of failing most of her students and it was an extremely hard class. Once all my pre-requisite classes were finished I knew I had limited classes I could chose, and the scholarship I had demanded that I stayed with one area and wouldn’t help pay for anything outside of my chosen career area. Any creative writing or art class I was hoping to take had to be passed up so I could take the classes that would help me with medical school.

My love of art never truly went away, but I did let it get overshadowed and mainly treated it as a fun hobby or a form of stress relief. I wanted to do so much more with my artwork, yet I never found a way to learn more, to grow more as an artist.

Then my life took a change that rattled me a bit. Having health problems since High School, I knew medical school was going to be a bit harder on me than it might normally would have been if I was healthy. After applying twice to the nursing program, and getting put on a waiting list, I started to have more problems health wise and had to see my doctor more than normal.

That’s when I got news that didn’t exactly work with my plans.

Although, I had worked hard in all my classes and were able to be a decent student, my neurologist told me I might need to find something else to do for a career. Because of some of my health issues, I would only get sicker with more stress that I would encounter at medical school. Not to mention my limits in actually being a nurse. She made sure to tell me if I truly wanted to be a Nurse, there was nothing stopping me, but I needed to know upfront that the road was going to be very long and very difficult.

Hearing that the dream I had since being a child and all the work I put into being a Nurse would suddenly be for nothing left me a little deflated. What was I supposed to do now? Everything I had planned for my future was depending on me getting a Nursing degree. I had two months before my next term at a community college would start, so I could retake a class that would be out of date by time I got into the nursing program.

Being on my parent’s insurance had certain rules, and although I was going to be getting married in a year I still needed that health insurance for as long as I could keep it. That meant I had to find a school to be in. I could either keep on the track of Nursing and continue with waiting to be accepted into the nursing program, or find something else to do.

I began looking around at options of other areas I could use the classes I already had and not let them go to waste. Thankfully, I am not one that likes to take risks, so along with getting ready for nursing, I took business classes as a college minor while nursing was my major. Although I didn’t really have plans to work in the business area, by the end of taking my classes I had three Associate Degrees in Business.

As I began to look at schools I found a local Business college that had a Nursing Assistance program and a Medical office program. Although, I was rethinking the Nursing choice, I decided to inquire about the programs this school offered. When the Admissions office called me back to chat with me about my options I was a little sad to hear both programs were no longer available, however, they did have a few other options if I would like to come visit and discuss a future with them. Before I could change my mind too much I accepted the opportunity and went for a campus visit.

Viewing the school was interesting, but something else caught my attention. Although I went for the medical programs offered at the school, I ended up considering a program way off my intended course of study. Later that night I was doing a little personal research and looking up more info on a new career path, Photography.

Art has always been a passion of mine. Ever since I could remember I was drawing something, creating stories, or taking pictures. Since medical was always were I wanted to end up I never thought about making a career out of my art, but here I was for the first time in my life considering taking an artistic class. And not just one class, several. At the end of this program I would have an Associate Degree in Photography.

When the new term started and I entered the Photography department for the first time, I felt so out of place. How could I, a person that has never taken an art class, pass anything in this program. The other students talked about previous art projects they worked on and photoshoots they did for money. I had none of that. The only experience I had was my time playing around on vacations with my camera or a few family pictures I did for my sister-in-law and her kids. But as the classes started I began to feel like I found the missing piece of what helps make me, me. No longer was I worried about remembering math formulas or anatomy so that I wouldn’t kill a patient. I was learning what to look for that made a picture stand out. How to control light so that I would get results I was looking for. How to manipulate pictures so that they seemed magical. For once in my life I had a place to share my creative thoughts and dreams and not feel like no one cared. I felt like I was home.

Now, as I work at a photography studio I get to play with my creative ideas and create art that I would have only dreamed of in the past. But, I still have one small problem. As I spend more time being creative with my photos, I also would love to be more creative with painting and drawing. The art classes I passed up in school are slowly coming back to haunt me as I work on trying to learn how to draw. I have tried to find classes that teach basic art, but sadly only colleges seem to offer such classes and none that are close to home or in my price range. Which leads me to work on teaching and learning on my own.

I still don’t have any regrets, although I may wish I would have taken some kind of art class in the past, I know that I had a different mind set back then and probably would not have been able to soak in everything I needed to or be able to know how to approach something I didn’t understand the way I would now. It may have taken me a while to find the area I belong, and although I still dream of being a Nurse, I know I also have a different way of helping others that I can still grow and learn about.

Do you have anything you wish you would have done different?
Maybe you have a class or area you want to learn more about?
Any tips on how to learn art that might help me?

I hope you enjoyed this long rambling post!

~Lauren

2 thoughts on “A Change in my Path”

  1. Aw I loved reading this blog post 😄 I regret not taking random classes when I first started community college. I focused on getting my general Ed done and transferring for some random major I had no interest in. It took me 2 years to finally be done with my general Ed and decided to take art courses but if I would’ve went straight into community college taking random courses to find what I like, I would’ve found what I wanted to do sooner and could’ve focused on getting better. I’m happy where I’m at though? I’m confusing. I’m glad you’re in photography now! Good luck with your drawing journey! Sorry for such a long comment lol. If you ever need some help with drawing, social media is a great place to get responses from people and what looks like needs some work on 😄

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  2. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Lauren! I’m so glad you’ve found a good fit with photography, but I know what you mean about wanting to get better at other creative arts too. In hindsight, there are SO many things I wish I’d done differently in college, but I’m working on trusting God with the path I’m on, wherever it goes. For painting and drawing, I think one of the biggest things I hear everywhere is to draw all the time. You could purchase an Udemy class or something similar, but there are a TON of free tutorials online, too, plus library books, etc. Getting back to drawing and digital painting is still on my to-do list. Hopefully one of these days soon. 🙂

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