In the November issue of Cosmpolitan magazine there was an article that caught my eye (no, not that article) about something known as the drift, something which occurs when you allow circumstances, other people, and anything that is not you to make decisions for you and shape your life. The result of a drift is you realizing your life is not where you would like it to be, often regretting what could have been.
Over the summer I realized I was in my own version of a drift. Last year I applied to PhD programs in English in hopes of getting into at least one. I jumped through all the hoops: I took both the GRE and English Lit GRE; I revised and updated my résumé to include the various literary conferences I presented at as well as my publication in an academic, peer-reviewed journal; I chose the strongest writing sample I had, a tweaked version of the article that was published; and I wrote a Personal Statement where the only thing that could possibly have been missing was the glaring neon sign attached that read “I am awesome you should totally accept me into your program.”
The grad school thing did not work out as I was not accepted into a single program I applied to. I found myself asking the question I had asked myself many times before: what do I want to do with my life? The only difference was that this time I had to answer it.
The answer was one I always knew but was afraid to say: I wanted to be a writer. So why then was I trying to get into grad school, a decision my heart was not in? Grad school seemed like the logical decision given my academic background and strong résumé. My professors in college encouraged me to look into graduate study given my interest in academic research. So when it came time to not sit around the house anymore grad school seemed like a good choice.
When I did not get into grad school it put things into perspective for me as I fully realized I should be focusing on the life I actually want to have, not the one I think I should want to have. I had two books already written, so I self-published them on Kindle and NOOK. I started this blog to begin with then added a second blog when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I created a Twitter account. Most importantly, I started being exactly that: a writer.