College Is For Everyone

So this post doesn’t have any particular photos, I just peppered it with a few that summarize my time in Buenos Aires.

Hello World.  I may not even post this as a blog because I’m going to talk about a lot of things that may not necessarily be wise to discuss publicly with all of my family and friends back in the US who read this blog, but if you’re reading this, I clearly felt ready to share it.

We all know that I’m a little crazy.  Ok, cut the shit, I’m a drama queen, and if there’s nothing crazy going on in my life I’m bound to find (create?) something.  This is a self-admission from a girl who’s jumped into moving cars to attempt to save her girlfriends’ dignity, who loves to go country dancing on Tuesday nights and belly dancing on Thursdays, and the proud owner of a scorpion named Scheherazade; I was crazy enough to go to Argentina by myself and crazy enough to go hitchhiking across the country with a guy I barely knew, a couple hundred dollars in my bra (I was scared of pickpocketers), and no set itinerary; so, it probably won’t come as a shock to you that: I’m completely and totally lost.

Image In college, we are supposed to create a life direction.  It’s not like we aren’t really prepared for this kind of decision—don’t even get me started on the mandatory high school Critical Skills class, which only consisted of about 97 surveys aimed at identifying our interests.  Oops I started: in Critical Skills I learned that I’m an ENFJ personality, that I am equally 33.3% an audio, visual, and kinesthetic learner, that my ideal career would range anywhere from bartender to geneticist to public defender, and that there should be TWO spaces between the state and zip code when typing the address on a cover letter.  Important stuff.  None of it helped me…I was fifteen years old.

Any scholarship/admission/bragging essays I write will never start with, “Since the second grade I always knew I wanted to be a…”  Nah, mine begin, “When I was in Kindergarten I was going to be a social worker just like my mommy, then in fifth grade I had my heart set on being a whale trainer at Sea World (ok, never quite let go of that dream), then I was going to be a second grade teacher through middle school, in high school it was eye doctor, and then I landed in college at the age of 17 with an appetite for every type of career and an exhausted level of motivation.” Breathe here. I’ve bounced around to about everything too.  I finally picked Marketing because I knew I could make money with it and it is a pretty versatile degree.  I got bored though.  So I went to Argentina to find a passion and hopefully set me on my course before I graduate.

Image^^ Brindis!

It’s not working though!  Here, I’ve added a major in Global Tourism and a minor in Business.  But rather than helping me find an interest to focus on, Argentina has expanded my world and made me realize how many interests I do have and how many opportunities there are to follow dream A through X.  Now, wouldn’t it be beautiful if this waverly enthusiasm I’ve got for just about every career out there came without a cost.  Hey, I’m young, I have my whole life ahead of me…oh and about $$$ in loans.  So now, with only three semesters ahead of me and the real drive to do about -2, I am stuck.  I have yet to take a single class with my new tourism major and I’m already bored of it.  To be honest, being here has made me overexcited to be done studying and get going with something I actually want to do.  I only made Spanish one of my majors because I somehow managed to score a 5 on the AP test and came in to CSU with half of it already done.  To avoid having to declare an official life path I just signed up for that one.

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So as my life here continues to baffle me and find new dimensions to twist into I wasn’t even aware existed, I find myself doubting my future.  I’ve come to realize that my life doesn’t have to fit into the conventional high school-college-job-family path.  That sounds so cliché that I’m saying that at my age and having identity issues and it most likely is, but I’m discovering little by little that I can really do whatever I want.  It’s probably the most terrifying thought that I’ve ever had to come to terms with and it really hasn’t been easy.  Right now, here in Argentina, I feel really happy.  I love the city, the people, the culture, what I’m doing here, everything.  I do miss everyone back home, but I feel so at home here.  Of course I have bad days and get depressed, it’s not like I’m in some disillusioned cloud of happiness, but I am just content with life on a more general level.  I am tired of not living in the moment and constantly worrying about the future.

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The only thing that I know right now is that I don’t really know.  I have a very vague picture of what I want my future to look like, I’m impatient with studying, and I want to start painting that picture.  It’s not too early, ok?  This isn’t something I’m writing on a whim, just so you know.  I have been thinking and stressing about this for about three months and am now officially presenting it (if I actually post it anyways.)  To be honest I put off really thinking about it for much longer before those three months because it’s scary and sounds crazy.  Eventually I gave in.  I did some research.

I could finish Spanish with a Business minor in December if I wanted to and maybe even all online.  I’m not sure the Global Tourism major is going to add much more than a wholelotta work and an extra pretty little box on my resume. That work is something that I lack both the motivation and the money for.  Ok, I could find the money, but if I’m not sure about it…it won’t be worth the years I’ll spend paying it off.  I feel like if I’m going to have to pay back a bajillion dollars in loans when I graduate with no real idea of what I want to do I should at least enjoy studying what I studied and benefit from it.  I asked a few people and my advisor if the Global Tourism degree would give me a real edge on competition in the job market.  The consensus was that, “It couldn’t hurt, but your Business minor does more than that extra degree.” So I think I want to finish my last semester in December.  Then what, you ask?

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Right now, I think it would be amazing to write.  I have a natural talent for it and haven’t ever actually tried to develop that talent.  I’m sure I’d get better with practice, just like playing the violin or playing soccer.  And I’d love to keep traveling.  There are so so so many opportunities I found that would allow me to travel and work.  It’s not so daunting as it sounds; not even close.  Plus I’m great at saving dinerooo 😉

The second part of my big-bad-scary plan is the most controversial to my mom.  I haven’t really made it super public to all of my friends yet either, but here goes.  I want to stay in Argentina.  Calm down.  Calm down.  Don’t freak out yet and let me explain.  Nothing has to be permanent and you can get on a plane and get anywhere, ANY OTHER PLACE IN THE WORLD, in 24 hours.  That means that tomorrow at this hour I could be back in Colorado, or in Australia, or in Russia or or or… you get the picture.  So it’s not like I’d really be disappearing.  Plus, I’m still coming home in July no matter what.  Let me break it down:

I promised everyone back home that I wouldn’t fall in love with any cute boys here and I still haven’t.  Instead I’ve fallen in love with the country and the culture.  Sometimes, I’m just sitting on the colectivo listening to my music and waiting to get to my destination when I get this slow, warm sensation in my tummy.  It’s not butterflies, but similar—a sort of bliss that catches me by surprise in the most curious moments.  I just love it here so much. The way everyone you know (or don’t know) kisses you on the cheek to greet you; the lilt of the accent; the sweet tooth; the twisted way you somehow have to order ice cream and coffee at McDonald’s from three different counters; the old man at the stoplight who tells me he wishes he could introduce me to his grandson; I could go on and on…  Sometimes I feel more Argentine than Statian and that really weirds me out.  So, while I know it seems completely crazy, I feel like my heart is here and I want to stay for longer…an indefinite amount of time.

Image^^Kevo, Otto, and Me

I’m still going to go back for at least a month or two though, just to test my resolve and help realize how much I’ve changed and if this is the right move for me.  It’s not anything that can’t be reversed in an instant—a move like that.  I don’t have kids or pets or a boyfriend and I really feel like it’s what I should do now while I’m so unencumbered with responsibilities. It’s what will make me happy.  I have three options:

A.)  Go home for a month or so in July and take a semester off school.  This wouldn’t hurt my transcripts or my financial aid at all and I could pick up right where I left off with CSU’s new plan for semester’s off; I’m just afraid I might lose more motivation

B.) Continue with my degree and finish in December with online classes.  This I could do from Argentina while working just as easily as I could do from home.  So it seems more appealing to me.  Why be confused and unmotivated there when I can be confused and unmotivated in a place that I’m in love with and makes my heart feel like it’s floating?

C.)  Go home for a few months and continue school for one semester at CSU campus, graduating in December and returning to Argentina.

The con to finishing school early, even though I’d have a four year Bachelor’s degree AND a minor in Business, is that if I do decide to study something else and develop my resume  I’m not going to get the same financial aid that I did the first time around at CSU…if any at all.  I could always study at University of Buenos Aires though.  It’s hard.  Really hard.  But it’s free and you can complete it all at your own pace.

Stay tuned to see if I change my mind next week, but I don’t think that’s in the forecast 🙂

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About Autumn Standing

I love words; my name is made up of real words, even. I am studying Global Tourism and Spanish with a minor in Business Administration at Colorado State University but this year I chose to study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. That's why this blog was born--to keep my beautiful family and friends informed of my whereabouts, thoughts, accomplishments, and mistakes.

Posted on March 25, 2013, in Spring Semester, Travel and Study and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Have you ever read The Fountainhead? You could do that next. 🙂

  2. Sheesh girly, this has to be the first complete blog post I have read of yours because I thought the others were reposts of articles you liked. Ha dumb moment! As your cousin from FL I couldnt relate more.. Like omgosh. I went to school this semester just set on doing forensic psychology and going to this private school and it was different and there was so much culture. But I hated the school.. my advisor… some of my teachers and a lot of the students. They all were like “entitled” a-holes who just seemed to have life handed to them… So I made the irrational decision to drop ALL 5 of my classes on the last day to drop.. I would have passed them all.. but I couldnt justify wasting time doing papers.. after I decided to change my major (once again…). I want to fit into the college/job/family..thing I want a family and a husband probably more than anyone will ever understand, but it is like I dont know how to reach that goal. I am not totally into one thing. I am thankful in some ways that my father aids in keeping me rooted at home, but I daydream and write about traveling. My grandmother also takes me virtually whereever I want to go on an annual basis. ANYWAYS, now that I have given part of my life story I wanted to say that YOU ARE FREAKING AWESOME… No matter what the outcome you will be able to look back and see that you explored, lived life and truly went down some different pathes..So no matter what your decision I hope A or B… do it with confidence. You will always learn something.. This semester I owe money back to the school for the first time in my life. 1000 dollars in debt, but I could not be happier rather than stepping foot in those classes again. Instead I am working my butt off to pay it back (happily) and beach bumming it. WAY better. Of course I am planning to go back to school in the fall and I have my 2 year degree, but I am like you. I change my mind weekly on what exactly I want to do… I’ll conclude with I feel we have the same goal in life sorta… We dont measure success with money or posessions, but rather happiness.. Would we be happy doing whatever it is we decide every single day? That to me is success and I have yet to really nail what job that might be for me to be happy, but also merely survive monetarily in this land. ❤ Hope I got some of this right… Love, Tash.

    • Yep, it looks like we’re in pretty much the same boat right now. Who knows where it’s headed? But I think that’s really awesome that you were brave enough to break out of the social and cultural myths that college and money are the only roads to happiness. I, much like you, can’t wait to be a mom and have a family. If I’m allowed to really admit it without sounding anti-feminist, I totally want to be a house wife/mom someday…at least just for a few years. Right now, though, is probably the best time in our lives that we will be able to truly have the freedom to “responsibly” explore our dreams. I hope that when I’m 64 (love the Beatles :D) I can be financially stable and have kids of my own to be proud of and get worried about when they want to do crazy things. So in a way, I do want my future to include some version of the traditional but I realized that there’s not just the one way to get there. Being here in a different culture really helped me recognize that I, and almost everyone around me back in the US, are always working towards happiness. We try to do well in high school so we can get into a good college so we can get a decent degree so we can get a good starting job and work our way up in a company so we can provide for a family and make a lot of money so then someday in the future we can be happy. Why not start being happy now? We can figure out the rest of all that jazz on the way when we understand ourselves more 🙂

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