A Bit of My Own Story
The more the distance increases between me and my college career, the less the everyday people I talk to know about my education. I seldom talk about it either, because very few of my studies were topics I actually fell in love with. When I finally jumped in to photography, I realized that having a creative career was so suited to who I am, and I haven’t really ever looked back!
I decided a few months before I started my undergrad at Brigham Young University that I wanted to study civil engineering. I was pretty good at math (until Linear Algebra and Calc 3, ummmm BARF) and I had a love (or so I thought) for architecture. Since BYU didn’t offer an architecture program, I figured civil engineering was close enough. I hadn’t even been in the major for a year, and I took a class that shattered almost all my desire to continue my studies. I wanted so badly to find something I liked a little better, and after a lot of personal reflection and counsel with Heavenly Father, I decided to persevere. I had a similar experience at least three other times during my college career, but in the end, I still graduated with my bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.
When I got married in the middle of my junior year at BYU, I began to feel a desire to switch careers and go into photography. Having my own engagement and wedding photos done so well, I was always thinking about how fun a creative career would be, especially in portrait photography! I spent countless hours of my free time learning how to take a great photo and how to get into the industry. I contacted photographers who I admired to get advice on good starter gear and ways to find clients. I OBSESSED over educating myself. And if all this didn’t point to the fact that THIS, photography, is what I wanted to do, I caught myself thinking about it even during the times I didn’t have to think about anything else.
Well, my husband caught on. He figured out what that starter camera was and saved all his bonus money for a whole summer to surprise me that Christmas. I will NEVER take his kind heart and attention to my musings for granted, because when he gave me that camera, he changed my life.
Long story short, I began doing paid shoots the following summer, and I have never looked back. I did hold a job in civil engineering for a while to help us save money for our future family, but honestly, I was always wishing that photography could be my full-time job. I can’t help but think sometimes that I wasted tens of thousands of dollars and four years on a degree that I don’t use (and don’t really want to use) and wonder why I felt prompted to continue my studies.
I’ll let you in on a little realization that I recently made.
If I had gone through an education and beginnings of a career that I loved, I never would have wanted to let go. I maybe would have felt that the sacrifice of leaving my career to have a family would be too great, and maybe I wouldn’t have done it. Maybe I still would have, but I would probably always be looking over my shoulder, wishing I could go back. And though this is definitely a deeper topic for another day, motherhood is what I was made for and I wouldn’t give it up for anything else. (Bonus: being self-employed, I hold complete control over my schedule and can easily be both a good mom and a photographer!)
I hope this little post can reach someone who feels stuck with what they’re studying in college, in a job they hate, or even who just feels a little confused about the direction they’re supposed to take. I have been there for what I felt was far too long, and I know exactly how you feel! Take some time (days, months, years!?) to think about what you’re truly passionate about and GO FOR IT. Regardless of if you feel it will count the time you’ve taken to get to where you are as wasted. It is not wasted if it’s taken you to what you truly love.