If I’m completely honest, it has taken me quite a while to be comfortable and confident in saying that phrase —I didn’t finish college. It’s one of those things that our culture just expects from us. We graduate high school, go to college, finish college, and get a good job…right? At least that’s what I had branded in my head when I graduated from high school.
After attending Texas A&M for a semester, I quickly realized that I am definitely not math/science brained. Arts is my jam, and always has been. I remember making cards in 3rd grade and trying to sell them at the end of my driveway and even brainstorming with my dad when I was in high school about starting my own card business. I have always loved painting, drawing, journaling, the beauty of nature and architecture, and I’ve always been a learn as you go, hands on, visual person. I’m a creative through and through. It just took me a while to really see that.
As hard (and humbling!) as it was to step away from A&M, and as difficult as it was to jump into starting my own business at the age of 19 with absolutely no idea what I was doing, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The past 5 years have been full of major learning experiences (I’m talking major), growth, trusting the Lord and His provision, and sweet, little victories that I probably would have taken for granted otherwise.
I know some of you are probably thinking “Oh my lanta! What did your parents think about this?” And to that I can happily answer that they were 100% ok with my decision to start my own business and not finish college. Now, we definitely had the “pick something and stick to it” talk since I changed my mind about 1548.3 times, but I feel so blessed and have so much respect and love for my parents for supporting me in my passion. Never once have they questioned my decision to be a photographer, and I am grateful beyond words for that.
Don’t get me wrong, education is absolutely, 110% important, but going the college route (for me at least) wasn’t the way to go. I have still sought to better myself, my business, and my education through conferences, workshops, research, meeting with other photographers, and reading numerous photography and business books. I will never stop learning and growing, and that is the beauty of the business I am in.
I think the hardest part of not graduating from college has been actually telling people that. I have had reactions anywhere from high-fives and true support and respect to people who have literally stopped talking to me because of it. But the fact of the matter is, whether the reaction is positive or negative, this is who I am and what I have chosen to do, and I am perfectly ok and happy with that. Has this been a hard journey? Heck. Yes. Have there been days when I think life would be easier with a college degree? Of course. But I wouldn’t trade the hard journey, challenges, and uncertainties for anything in the world. I have gained life experience that I never would have, friendships that wouldn’t have been made, and a business/job that I love and cherish. But most importantly, it has caused me to lean on Christ (the one true and solid foundation) and trust Him and only Him for my future and what lies ahead.
My intention in writing this post is to encourage. Follow your dreams, people (as cheesy as that sounds). I feel that too often we are caught up in what our culture expects from us and don’t think about where our passions, desires, and talents lie. Use the things the Lord has given you and go after it. Don’t be afraid to get a little crazy and ambitious…it’s totally worth it.