I’m a graduate from The University of Texas at Austin, but I didn’t major in either English or Creative Writing. In fact, I wasn’t even in the School of Liberal Arts (“school” is how the university subdivides their specialties). Believe it or not, I was part of the Business School.
My parents were paying for it, and because of that, my choices were limited. I wasn’t allowed to major in things that interest me; I had to get a degree in “something I could get a job in.” And in their eyes, that meant having an employer with a guaranteed paycheck.
“What are you going to do with a psychology degree?” I can still see my parents’ screwed up faces as they sarcastically (and rhetorically) ask this question. They didn’t want an intellectual answer—they just wanted me to accept their ridiculous point (btw, there are quite a few things you can do with a psychology degree). They never conformed me to their beliefs, but I was young, sheltered, didn’t know how to survive on my own, and therefore, felt like I had no choice but to pick something from their “approval list.”
I ended up applying to the UT business school, not even sure at the time what to specialize in. I guess one plus to going this route is it impressed Thomas (the business school isn’t the easiest thing to get into). It took some discovery, but I eventually settled on Management Information Systems (MIS). For those who don’t know, it’s basically a part business, part computer science degree.
The irony of it all is I was only in the workforce for seven years before Thomas and I made the decision for me to come home and be a stay-at-home mom full time. In no way am I knocking a college education. I am lucky to have received one…I just think that time would have been better spent exploring my interests rather than my parents outdated utilitarian philosophies (they believed if you had a college education, you were set for life).
But in my time at home, I rediscovered my love of writing. I took a creative writing class my senior year of high school, and it was, by far, my favorite. Writing Flower in the Ash was a journey—all eleven versions of it. I’ve lost count the number of writing classes I’ve taken since I first began, and I’ll be ever indebted to my awesome critique groups. This is probably the closest I’ll ever get to an MFA, but I’m okay with that. School is only one avenue—learning by doing can be just as valuable…if not more.
‘Til next time!