I remember high school sophomore year when my older friends told me that junior year was a bitch; they were right. Now, my junior year was difficult for many reasons from the basic studying for the ACT, to college research, to theater (and evil directors), to challenging classes. Beyond all of this though, it was at the end of my junior year that my mom died.
This means now it will be four years in April (3 1/2 October 11th) which is mind-blowing enough, but also means I'm feeling similar stresses as a junior in college. Fingers crossed I don't have to deal with a death this year. In high school, your main worries are boys, getting into the "right" college, getting good grades, and having some sort of a social life. In college, they are quite parallel except for one important difference: we are not hearing back from colleges in the spring.
That's right, we as juniors, as we did four years ago, have to start thinking about our future. Thinking about my future four years ago consisted of college and day dreaming of what I'll do when I'm "all grown up." Even now I find me and classmates catching ourselves when we talk about growing up. We are in the midst of it and will soon be entering this so-called real world. Some (actually, many) of my friends and classmates are applying to grad schools and internships in the summer or early next year.
I get scared thinking about this because...I am not.
I'm not going to grad school since having a masters in English was never my plan. The "plan" was to get my BA, get a reasonable out-of-college job, polish my manuscript, and find an agent. From there, hopefully I'll be picked up by a publisher and begin working with an editor. Since it'll be my first published piece my monetary offer will be small, but I accept that. As soon as a publisher picks it up and begins the long publishing process, I'll start working on my next piece. After this one is published hopefully a couple years later, I can begin my next and, depending on its reception, propose the possibility of selling it as a trilogy. Following my trilogy (I'll most likely still be working odd jobs throughout this time) I'll propose my memoir and following this, my next piece. Hopefully at this time I'll have garnered some sort of minor name for myself and can maybe venture into the world of children's literature.
So there you have it, the above is my "plan" but really more of my dream. I believe in my heart I can make the above happen if I work hard enough, but the reality of it is terrifying. This is no longer years and years down the line, its only a couple summers away. I'm not stupid enough to think these epic opportunities will land in my lap right out of the gate; I'll have to work my ass off. Though I'm more than ready for my life to begin progressing, I'm still scared.
Sometimes I wish I had grad school and another ten years of schooling/practice to have before I had to get all responsible and shit...but I don't. I simply don't have the time to spend in an institution when I could be out making real connections to advance my career. I can talk a big game (or seem completely arrogant at times) and act like I have it all worked out, but I don't. I have a good game plan, and as with all plans it'll change and evolve over time.
Every so often I'll hear or see something that will scare the shit out of me, send me running to the fucking hills. I'll walk home from class with a blank stare on my face, wondering what the hell I think I'm doing. Other times, less often but far more important, I'll feel something glowing in my heart or my brain that gives me hope. More than hope actually, it gives me faith. Faith that I can makes something out of myself. There are plenty of people that I want to prove right and prove wrong, as anyone does. I think that belief that I will succeed is amplified by the idea of showing this world what I'm capable of doing.
I want to prove to the crazy girl from high school theater that I am indeed smarter and more talented than she. And yes, I am crazy, but at least I'm not as crazy as her which is a plus.
I want to prove to my sadistic AP English teacher that I do have balls and will make it, and she'll have to teach my books in her classroom. No longer will she sneer at me when our paths cross; she'll have to respect me.
I want to prove to the bitches in the past and present (and future) that I may not wear makeup or have awesome clothes, but I'm prettier than they'll ever be on the inside and it'll shine through in my writing.
I want to prove to my dad, my sister, English teachers and professors, my theater teacher and mentor, and all my friends that they were right to stick by me and support my dreams.
Personally, that last one is the most important and will be the most rewarding in the end.