Please note: This article was written and published several years ago and may no longer be accurate.
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Throughout my entire childhood, I was dead set on being a musician. In fact, I’m pretty sure my main life goal was to become Shania Twain (but that’s beside the point). I went through all the motions — I played clarinet in band all through middle and high school, sang in the choir, and auditioned for one of the top music schools in my state and the country. I was blessed to be accepted to Shenandoah University’s Conservatory, and I made the most of it. I spent a semester practicing clarinet until my lips cracked and trying to understand the impossible world of music theory – and then one day I realized it wasn’t for me. I felt like I had wasted a solid eight years of my life, but I knew it was time for a change. After a series of events leading me toward the path of journalism, I decided to double major in English and mass communications, and it’s made all the difference.
The decision was really sudden, probably more sudden than it should have been. In fact, it was so last-minute that it was almost impossible to pull off. But it’s what I really wanted, so I made it work. So far, it’s been awesome. I’m making money doing something I truly enjoy doing, that doesn’t take away from my life or my family, and that I can do anywhere with any spare second I have (and that works really well with my hectic college-student schedule). My new major is everything I hoped it would be, with amazing classmates, teachers, and new friends. I get to read, write, blog all day – it’s really a dream come true.
But that doesn’t mean that all my years doing music weren’t worth it.
I learned a ton from my years as a musician. I now excel in discipline and problem solving. I better understand my own work ethic and habits; I figured out when I learn best and when I’ve hit a plateau with my progress (and how to deal with that). I worked on being competitive, something that’s never been my forte. I am so grateful for all of the musicians and teachers that got me where I am today — I would never have known I was meant to be a journalist if it wasn’t for being a clarinetist.
Sure, I changed my major, maybe I even “wasted” a semester. But that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Something I never thought I’d have an interest in has turned into an incredibly rewarding career, and I couldn’t be happier that I’ve been presented with this opportunity. It took some extra time, but I found where I’m supposed to be – and you can do that, too.
Maybe you’ve spent your entire life thinking that you’re destined to be a lawyer, or a computer programmer, or a writer, but it’s never too late to figure out what you’re really meant to do. People change with new experiences — and that’s okay. Let yourself change and become who you’re meant to be. Maybe you’re meant to be an artist, or an actress, or even a realtor. Whatever it is, finding your calling will make you more productive (and probably wealthier), and so much happier. Your family and friends might not understand at first, but once they see you with less stress and more smiles, they’ll get it.
After all, if something doesn’t make you happy, why are you doing it anyway?
So change your major, quit your job, and try something new if you’re inclined to do so. It’s your life now. You don’t have to do something because you always wanted to as a kid, or because your parents want you to, or even because your significant other wants you to. Do what makes you happy and embrace the change. You’ll be glad you did.