On Choosing Scenic Routes

It’s been exactly one month and seven days since my college graduation. On commencement day I was excited to have FINALLY made it to April 29th, 2017. It wasn’t that I thought I couldn’t or wouldn’t make it this far, rather I was impatient in getting there. I had made it a personal goal and was determined to graduate in four years, and that’s what I did. I took on extra credits when needed and I dropped credits when needed, but if that was the case, I made sure to make them up in the summer. The ride to college is filled with winding and bumpy roads with a few straight shots here and there, but regardless, I was more concerned with reaching the destination. I used to judge those who took scenic routes whether it was by choice or by getting turned around. It wasn’t until I got closer to the finish line that I realized it wasn’t a race. No matter which lane you prefer to drive in or the route you choose to take, the destination will always be there.

I’ve always been the type of person to prefer the end results rather than enjoy working and growing your way through a situation. (Are we there yet!?) I was so focused on making sure I graduated on time that when I did, I didn’t even celebrate the accomplishment. *Granted, I’m not one who desires to be celebrated with gifts, party’s or an abundance of recognition. But unlike some of my peers who took rest stops and had the opportunity to proclaim “I made it, and the journey to graduation was worth it!” I instead, took no breaks, complained the entire drive, and saw nothing but a long road ahead of me. It also didn’t help that my GPS took me through major construction sites with multiple detours and constant rerouting.

From Sophomore to Senior year I wrestled with the uncertainty of not knowing what I wanted to do post graduation. What the F%*K?!  I strategically planned out these four years: declare one major and graduate on time. I ended up changing my major once (which most students do), but I  was so sure the switch to Psychology would help me learn all I needed to become a counselor for all the debt I was putting myself in. Right?

Turns out, my desire to become a counselor was short-lived. In actuality, I was more drawn to the skills needed to become a counselor which could also be used in other areas; areas that involved my interests (communicating, writing, creating, and relationship building). However, I wasn’t going to change my major a second time. So, I decided to continue to declare Psychology, but trust me, I complained. A LOT (three years worth). But looking back, I made the right decision. Being in an uncomfortable space challenged me to figure out what I found to be desirable. I did an abundance of research and networking. My mind was constantly evolving the more I discovered who I was, what I liked, and what I aspired to do. Little did I know in the midst of all that construction, I was taking a scenic route. I just never stopped to look at the views around me. Today, I chose to revisit that route, and I made a promise to myself to appreciate the scenery:

  1. Although I wasn’t a fan of my major, I loved my minors! I double minored in African American Studies (AAA) and Women, Gender, & Sexualities Studies (WGS). I declared AAA during my Sophomore Year and WGS during my Junior Year. These areas exposed me to the untold and overlooked histories and present perceptions of marginalized groups of people. It was from here that I became vulnerable in learning and connecting to harsh truths and realities. I was touched so deeply by the material that I desired to educate and create spaces for those who had gone so long without the desperately needed resources. I wasn’t sure what those resources were or how I was going to implement them, but these courses were my first encounters in wanting to become a creator.*Fun fact: during this time, I also wrestled with becoming an urban planner.
  2. I didn’t connect or bond with any of my professor’s within my major, but I did connect with professors in other disciplines. One in particular challenged the way I viewed the term educator. After reflecting on some of the skills I displayed within her course, she mentioned she could visualize me as a teacher. I quickly dismissed the title since I didn’t have any desire to be in academia, but she assured me teachers aren’t always in classroom settings. Once again, I didn’t know what that would look like for me, but I knew I wanted to communicate knowledge and personal experience to evoke conversation. I’ve always felt that was a good way to teach since we are all lifelong students: Learning doesn’t stop after graduation.
  3. Finally, I didn’t connect or bond with any of my professor’s within my major…but I did have a soft spot for my capstone professor. He wholeheartedly enjoyed his job: researching material and connecting with students. That alone made his course more enjoyable. However, his course required an abundance of reading and writing: six to eight articles along with six to eight papers a week. The papers didn’t need to be long, but they did need to show that we understood the concept and could articulate the material. He always praised me for my writing capabilities and even questioned my content when he felt as though it wasn’t up to par. His course is actually the reason I’m more consistent with this blog. He helped me discover my love for writing, which in turn, helped me discover a new way to communicate and build community!

When we’re able to see passed our undesired circumstances and find meaning, beauty, and purpose during the ride, we can appreciate the journey. We don’t have to rush.

And so, to all those who are stuck in traffic, who are on construction field roads, and who have gone through numerous reroutes. It’s annoying, I know. It’s also frustrating as hell! You might even want to turn around and go back home, but before you do, please look to your left or your right, and enjoy the view. Always take the scenic routes. It gives you something to do.

xo Ambria




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