Tuesday, January 11, 2011

So who has been to Europe?....

Kind of a random topic offhand, but it did have a lot of influence over my current life crisis.

I was lucky enough to take four trips to Europe over my college career. Some during the summers for fun, and others were school and credit related. I spent two weeks in Paris my first go around... and while scary as hell, it definitely unleashed something in me I hadn't seen coming.... the dreaded travel bug. (Now I am very well aware how very blessed I have been, and continue to be. I feel like I will be telling these stories with a somewhat sad undertone, but don't take it too seriously. I am truly grateful to have these problems to complain about.)

I enjoyed every second I spent in Europe. I visited France, England, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, and Germany. It became almost a drug to me. I found that I wasn't the kind of person who went on a vacation and then went home feeling relaxed and grateful for all I had seen. I literally wanted to pack up my life and move to where I had been. Just the realization that there was so much out there I had not seen and done... It killed me to leave it and come back to my small part of the world. I actually kind of hate that about myself. I often wish to be more simple minded. Just enjoy the things I have been given and carry on. 

The older I have gotten the more extreme I have become with my little travel disease. My little random trips have, twice now, turned into full blown moves. (I'm sure i'll talk about my moves later). Both resulting in me ending up right back here in Sweet Home Louisiana.  I guess like the old saying says.... "the more you know, the less you understand". That's exactly how I feel about seeing the world. And I can't get enough of it. 

Does anyone else out there have a hard time staying put?

PS- The picture above was taken of me in the Santa Maria Novella church in Florence, Italy by my ex-boyfriend. He was escorted out afterward because of the flash. Love that picture.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Let's get this started.....

It has been nearly a year and a half since I walked across the stage and received my college diploma. I spent four and a half years working my tail off for a degree in chemistry. The beginning of my pre-life crisis bubbled up during my last semester in college... resulting in a minor in religion, and therefore an extra six months of school. I had spent my high school career claiming I would be a scientist. Now why would a 16 year old claim such a thing? Simple: I was good at it. I got straight A's in all my science classes, found myself president of the science club two years straight, and was constantly amused at the chance to dissect small animals.

The truth was though... I was good at everything back then. As snobby as this may sound, it is true. I was excellent at English and could write on a college level from when I was in middle school. I took advanced math classes from freshman year. After taking all four years of French by the time I was a sophomore, I decided to polish off Spanish as well.... With all this potential... why did I choose the exhausting route of chemistry? 

At 18 I started my four year collegiate path at a small liberal arts school in Louisiana. My friends and I were all medical school bound, and immediately declared our various science majors. The next four exhausting years brought knowledge, skill, and poise.... but with it came confusion, annoyance, and regret. 

How are we possibly expected to know what we want to do with our life at the age of 18? Given that you are supposed to explore your options in college.... is that ever really an option? I was not willing to spend seven years in college, so I immediately made up my mind that it had to be done in four. Throughout the four years it was required you explore classes in English, business, sociology, psychology, etc. While these are very interesting indeed... you cannot very well change your major as a senior after enjoying a semester in sociology. You get stuck. You pick a major and pray to the gods the choice doesn't smack you in the face years later. 

I got smacked. After declaring my major freshman year, the next few semesters flew by fine. I was enjoying my science classes because they were easy. I felt smart and useful in class, along with the accompanying labs. I was also naturally enthralled with college life as a whole. Being away from home, meeting new people, being on my own... it wasn't until junior year that things began to get out of my control. My classes got tough.... really tough. Biochemistry, physical chemistry, calculus 2.... I couldn't stand any of it. Not only did I find it a challenge, I barely even found it interesting. There were only 5 chemistry majors to stand by my side day in and day out. We had taken the road less taken, and there was no turning back. 

My grades began to slip. Not a major slip, but anything less than a B hurt my pride. I began to party more often.... and travel. Oh the risks that come with travel. Not risks like being mugged or kidnapped.... the risks that come with outing a free spirit. I wanted to do everything, try everything, be everything. I became obsessed with any religion class I could get my hands on. I eventually accumulated enough credits to receive my minor in it. I thirsted for anything that didn't revolve around chemicals and proteins...  and the bloody history of world religions took my fancy. It also made me realize how little passion I had for my chemical future. I skipped at the chance to apply to medical school. I wanted nothing to do with it. I was pressured to apply to graduate schools the last semester of my senior year. I pretended to of course, but how could I choose a 5 year PhD program when I barely cared for my current chemistry classes?

I still managed to graduate with a 3.5 in the spring of 2009. I came home with my diploma, sat on my floor, and cried. 

I want to blog about what happened next, and what still continues to happen. This pre-life crisis that began nearly a year and a half ago is still in full force. I want nothing more than to share my story, help anyone experiencing the same problem, and get feedback from you all.