The other day I had a counseling appointment scheduled to help an art student choose a major. In these sessions, we typically spend some time discussing classes they’ve enjoyed (or hated) in the past and visualizing what they want their careers to “look” like. But this appointment took a very different turn.
Unlike many young people with big dreams, this student currently worked in her field: part-time at an art studio AND as a small business owner. His biggest problem was that he didn’t enjoy the curriculum and he didn’t mesh well with his classmates. They frowned upon him because she didn’t drool over the type of artwork that they loved, didn’t dress like them, and because he …*wait for it*… joined a fraternity (gasp!). That was it. He hated the structure of his classes, didn’t fit in with his classmates, already worked as an artist but wasn’t sure if it was “safe” to change his major. At one point I had to ask for clarification: you’re stressed about dropping your art major…when you’re ALREADY AN ARTIST?! Based on all that info, here’s what I explained to him:
1. When I look for a creative entrepreneur, I don’t care about the type of degree they have. I want to see their portfolio to know what type of work they’ve done in the past. Experience and passion is what would make him an artist, not necessarily a degree in art.
2. If your biggest “problem” is your environment, then you don’t actually have a problem. Just move! You don’t like your classmates, don’t talk to them. You don’t like your classes, change your major. It’s simple.
3. Don’t create stress where there isn’t any. Don’t make simple decisions hard by over thinking the issue or prolonging the decision. Make a choice to be happy, take the action, begin enjoying life.
4. Think about what you, 5 years from now, would regret. And do now what you think you’d wish you’d done.
5. Think about your best life: you switch majors, ditch the stress, graduate early, spend a year studying for fun or traveling abroad, and enjoy time with your girlfriend and fraternity brothers. Life is good! Try to spend just as much time thinking of the best thing that could happen as you do being “realistic”. Happiness is just as much of a possibility as pain is.
By the end of our appointment, he gleamed from the excitement of how great his life already was! All he wanted was permission to be happy. And if you feel the same, here it is: let life be good. The struggle doesn’t HAVE to be real! Too good CAN be true so instead of thinking that something is wrong because you’re completely happy, just seize the moment!