Going to such a huge university (and the #1 party school in the country at that time) and experiencing the new found freedom wasn't great on my study habits so within a year or two I realized that being a doctor was not going to be an option. I didn't really have any clear idea of what I would do now, since doctor was always my dream, so I randomly picked a business degree. I remembered having enjoyed Economics in high school so I decided to go with that. I worked as a bartender throughout college and we will just say I enjoyed the social scene.
In 2010 after doing a victory lap (5 years of college) I graduated with my Bachelors in Economics. I learned so much practical knowledge with this degree (and NO shortage of calculus and statistics) but I was not really sure what I was going to do next. Do you become an Economist? No idea.
I decided to move back to my parents house in the Atlanta suburbs to start looking for a job. It just seemed like the logical thing to do. They encouraged me to move home and save money to buy a house and although I was hesitant after being on my own for the last 5 years it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Still having no idea what kind of career I should head toward I just randomly started applying for jobs, mostly in banking.
The economy was tanked, and I was either too inexperienced (apparently knowing how to mix a ton of drinks and sling shots isn't transferable to the corporate world) or too overqualified for jobs that didn't require a degree. My mom started sending me jobs she thought I should apply for. Let me just say that they were OUT there. I mean, they were great jobs, but NOTHING in my field. I vividly remember one day being like "Mom, stop sending me these crazy jobs, this is for an entry level Software Engineer position, I have an Econ degree and know NOTHING about computers." She responded "Who cares, the worst they can tell you is no and you get the experience of an interview."
I applied for said Software Engineer position, and shockingly, within a few days I was called for an interview. I knew I wasn't going to get the job but I didn't care. I wasn't afraid of rejection as long as I put forth my best effort. My interview essentially became me persuading (begging?) the owner of the company to hire me. I could tell he liked me as a person and I did my best to let him know that I could pick up whatever it was that he wanted me to do. Thank God he didn't ask me anything technical and I was very honest about "knowing nothing about technology."
By the grace of God, I received an offer letter about a week later. I truly couldn't believe it and I was shocked that this man was going to pay me and give me health benefits for something I knew nothing about. I don't think I could sign that offer acceptance fast enough. I honestly didn't even care how much it paid - I would have worked for $2,000 a year at that point. It was my in to the corporate world. Now all I had to do was to stay good on my word and prove myself to this poor guy I had convinced to hire me.
The training was rigorous, I had to pass a Software certification after 4 weeks of training. Basically nothing made sense but I'm a decent test taker and was one of the first people in my training class to get the certification. At this point I knew that I would figure it out and get by. I also knew that I probably wasn't going to stay in this field for more than a few years but I'd let the economy do it's thing and try again another time. Just shy of 2 years from graduating, I was able to purchase my first home in Buckhead. All on my own. The hard work had paid off.
8 years, 5 additional technical/engineering certifications and many big clients later, I never switched careers. Who knew that my future would be built on this. I absolutely LOVE what I do. I've been part of teams that have transformed systems within huge organizations and I take a lot of pride in what I do. I owe EVERYTHING to the man who made this possible, for taking a chance on me, for believing in me. He will never know the way he has touched my life and I will never be able to repay him for paving my future (and some really wonderful, patient mentors).
Why do I write all about this, you may ask.
I whole-heartedly believe that my adult life has been transformed due to this one opportunity. Taking this one chance. Submitting this one job application. Not being afraid to hear no.
This is the reason why I have been able to pursue art on the side. I honestly don't care if you like my work or not. If it brings a smile to ONE person's face, then I've done what I set out to do. I do not think that I will ever be able to quit my job or be in top galleries, but I'm truly doing what I love in all aspects of my career, and for that, I am grateful.
I encourage you to take chances. To do something you don't think you can do. To face rejection and not give a shit. I promise you that it won't be in vain and one day you will understand why you took the chance to begin with.