It is my absolute favorite time of year: fall! What does that mean? It means that school has begun and being a senior this year, some big things are happening in my life. This is the time of year that seniors need to begin to think about college and what they want to do with their future. So, that is what I have been up to. I have been attempting to figure out what I love to do that I could see myself doing for the rest of my life… and it has been a tough process. If you would have asked me that question just weeks ago, I probably would have told you that I was going to study nutrition and become an R.D. or a nutritionist. That is what I thought would make me happy, but I thought wrong. The more I was being asked this question, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that that path would make me miserable if I had to go about it every single day. I have come to the conclusion that the reason I was so set on that path for a while, the path of the interest in food and what it does to my body and the science of it all, came from my eating disorder and always needing to know everything about every food ever that I was consuming. Now don’t get me wrong, I still value my health and love learning about nutrition and my body. However, I could not do that every single day for the rest of my life. When I came to that realization, I became a bit of a wreck. I tend to be a girl who always has to have a plan in mind, even if it is a loose plan, but I need something to keep me on some type of a track. So when people continued to ask me what I wanted to do, and I couldn’t answer them, it became a very stressful question.
I was laying in bed one night scrolling through my phone for anything inspirational. I had been casually glancing through different articles earlier that morning with possible career options that someone with my skills and passions could pursue. I was taking different tests and reading a few career books with occupation lists, but nothing was popping out at me. But then I scrolled across a post that was published by Refinery29. The article was written by someone who had spent 30 days in New York City, and every morning she tried a new cafe where avocado toast was served on their menu. Immediately I had lightbulbs going off in my mind!! I realized what it is that I am truly passionate about: I love to write (this blog has become my new favorite hobby), I love the city of New York, I love food (in both fun and nutritional ways), and I love to take photos. Before I tell you what it is that came across my mind you need to know this about myself: I am not a mainstream type of girl. I do not like to go with the crowd, I like to do my own thing. I could never see myself sitting at some kind of desk the rest of my life, or working a ‘9 to 5’… I am a girl who is meant to stand out and take her own path. So when this idea came to me, I knew that it was what I was meant to do. I decided that I would like to become some kind of a journalist mixed with some kind of a food career. My hopeful plan will be to take some food studies along with journalism studies at college. With both degrees in journalism and food studies, I hope to pursue a career with a big social media platform such as Spoon University, Buzzfeed (most likely their food edition), or one of the like.
Social media is beginning to become such a big part of my generation’s life, it would be an amazing career. I love to stay updated on all the latest happenings through the media. I am also a very guilty of ‘doing it for the gram’. I have always been a bit of an Instagram fiend. Along with that, anytime we go anywhere, I always choose where we eat, and it is never anywhere ordinary. I love to try new and crazy dishes. Exploring cities in search of amazing food and coffee shops is a hobby of mine. I find that food is so much more than what we eat, it is such an enjoyable part of life. It shouldn’t just be eaten, but savored and truly enjoyed.
Being employed for any of these places could allow me to write about food I try at cafes or restaurants or festivals or maybe food that I make. I could also photograph these dishes and possibly give reviews or share recipes. This career path is one that is so unique that I could see myself doing it for my whole life and never get bored. The thought of getting to spend my life writing, cooking, baking, photographing different foods, getting to travel to review new places, getting to live in NYC because that is where the headquarters for many of these places are located… It all adds up to a career that is not so much a job, but is more of a fun life in my eyes! There are so many different possibilities for this path… I could go in so many different directions with it! I could become a food critic, a food journalist, a chef, a baker, a journalist, the possibilities are endless. And they all align with my interests and would allow me to live in my favorite city on this planet!
After I got done getting all excited, I went on instagram to stalk NYU students, and some of the social media accounts for NYU and different NYC restaurants. After hours of endless excited daydreaming and cheesy grinning towards nobody because I am a dork, I stumbled across an account that belongs to a girl named Allie. She currently runs an NYC food account where she tries new food places in NYC and bakes on her own as well, then posts about her experiences and recipes. On top of that, she is currently employed for Spoon University as their Photodirector and Social Media Manager. Last but not least, she is an NYU student who is majoring in Nutrition and Food Studies and is minoring in Creative Writing. Coincidence? Or fate? Either way, of course I messaged her with ALL sorts of questions. She replied within a day and was so helpful and willing to answer everything! She let me know that she would always be there if I needed her and to let her know if I ended up at the school so that we could meet each other in person! After talking to her, it reassured me that everything I had been thinking I would enjoy, was exactly what I wanted to do. It was such an amazing feeling. It was also so amazing to know that what I was dreaming of was actually a possibility. The best part of it was getting to meet Allie. What a kind soul she was, sharing all her tips with me. It is so reassuring to know that there are still people out there like her, that are willing to help complete strangers like me pursue my dreams.
So after getting past those dilemmas, fast forward to now, and I am facing some new issues. There is the little fact that to get into college, you need to apply. And to be able to afford college, you need to get scholarships. On top of those two issues, I am trying to keep up my high GPA so that I have amazing grades to help me get into NYU and qualify for many scholarships. Once again, all these different stressors began to put me into a bit of a funk for a while. Not to mention that at my job as a barista at Caribou Coffee we have been going through an employee shortage, which means that I have been working twice as much as I am used to. Because of the situation at work, I began getting home on some recent school nights close to 10pm where I had not started any homework. I would be up for at least an hour, until I had to go to bed, only to be back up by 5a.m. or 6a.m. to finish the work I had not completed. I was falling asleep in class, and was noticing the crabby attitude I began to have towards my parents, the people in my life who have done more for me than anyone else ever. They definitely did not deserve my sass, and my body did not deserve this stress. I knew I had to make a change.
I did not take a very long conversation with my dad to realize what it was that needed to be cut out of my life. If I was going to start applications, essays, keep my grades high, stay sane, and have free time during my last year at home, work needed to go. Before you think to yourself that it sounds like quite an impulse decision, let me tell you that this was the farthest from that. This decision was one I had been considering for quite a while for many different reasons, and it was not an easy one. Late one night after getting home from work, and having a math assignment that hadn’t even been touched, along with a take home test, all due tomorrow, was when my dad and I talked and came to a decision. It was one of the hardest I have ever made. Caribou has become a part of me in a way. I have been working there for quite a while, and I was one of the longest-lasting employees there. I have seen people come and go, watched the store change, made many new friends through my position, and just generally loved what I did. I have such a passion for both people and coffee, and love to make strangers day’s by serving them gorgeous drinks with a smile. But sometimes you just need to make decisions like that. It ultimately came down to the realization that I either continued working and put my health and my future grades, college path, and journalism job in jeopardy, or I quit working in favor of getting more rest and more time to dedicate to school and colleges.
I have been through quite a few big decision making processes in the last few weeks of my life, but I have done what I needed to do. Throughout life, everyone has to make decisions at some point. Some may be fun and exciting like choosing your career path and college, but some may be sad and unwanted like quitting the job that you love. In these periods of our life there are different things to keep in mind and different lessons to be learned:
- You do not have to go about these seasons of life alone, nor should you. If you are having a hard time, or just need some support, seek a friend or family member! I am so lucky to have my amazing parents who are always so willing to help me through tough times, but maybe for you it may be your best friend of your math teacher. However, more than anyone, you can always know that God will be with you. Joshua 1:9 says this: ‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go’. The Lord loves each of us and will not ever leave you alone, especially in tough times. He wants us to ask him for help, so call upon him!
- Sometimes it is healthy to not know. Despite feeling lost in the period of life when I did not have a career chosen, there was calmness in it. I am such a goal-oriented person but sometimes I forget to just live. It is important to just live once in awhile. Life is not all about becoming the next big thing, or always getting better at things. Those are great goals, but that is not the meaning of life. We all need to learn to just be content sometimes and realize that just living is something. By just living, even if it is not for something at the time, is enough. You are enough. Goals are great and motivating, and I personally like to always keep them in mind, but life is not always that easy, and that is okay.
- Sometimes there is not a ‘good’ and ‘bad’ option. Like in my deciding to quit my barista position, in my opinion, both of those choices that I had were very bad options. When you have a time like this is life that you aren’t given any choices that sound appealing, sometimes you need to just choose the best option. It was such a hard time to come to terms with the fact that in a few days I will no longer work at Caribou, but it was the better for me option. I could not continue losing sleep and allowing my grades to suffer only to continue making coffee. I needed to make a decision, that in the long wrong, would benefit me more.
- Things can, and often will, change. We need to be willing to accept and welcome in the changes. I was dead set on becoming an R.D. months ago, there was no changing my mind. And here I am, mind changed. It happens. And who knows, maybe months from now I will have given up my dreams of being a food journalist and decide to just write for a magazine or maybe I will decide to go more about the food path and open a cafe or a coffee shop of my own as I am very passionate about baking, cooking, and coffee as well.
The biggest advice I have for someone going through a tough time in life, particularly making a decision that may be causing you to scratch your head, is to be true to yourself. To make decisions is to know who you are. Without knowing who I am and what I love, I could never have made any of the decisions that I did. You need to keep in mind what you value and the goals you have for yourself and then choose the decisions that alines with all of that. More than anything, I know that I am a Christian and I value what God wants from me. I spent quite a bit of time praying over these decisions before they were made, which allowed me to be confident that they were right for me. However, whether or not you look to God for help, you still need to be confident in the fact that you know what you need that will be best for you, because ultimately, you are who the decisions will most affect. Until next time friends!