So, a few (ahem, more than a few) years ago I went to THE Ohio State University.
I was in my second semester....fully established in the world of Mustard's and Purity dancing and dancing. (I'm just going to say "dancing" to keep it somewhat professional here!)
I was Fully enjoying my new world of friends and somewhat enjoying having a lot of roommates in Lincoln Tower.
And that's when IT happened! I enrolled in a photography course. Although I was undecided at the beginning of school, I was originally planning on a degree in Fashion. That was until my work study program introduced me to the Cliques and the politics in the Fashion Department and suddenly I was looking for another degree.
I already was on my way to a French major, when I took Intro to Photography. It was literally 3 weeks in and I was HOOKED. I mean, I got to make stuff and take it home and put it on my walls. I got to hang out with the COOLEST of the cool people (you know who you are) and MAKE ART!!!!! And I was actually good at it.
It was decided.
But then it wasn't.
I went to declare my major and as fast as I had decided it was over. "No, sorry. We're no longer accepting anyone in the B.A. Program. You can get a B.F.A. Show us your portfolio in various mediums and then we will consider if you are allowed to be accepted."
Wait. What happened? But I LOVE photography...I don't have a portfolio. I don't have any artistic talent at all. I can't draw, or paint or anything. Omgosh...what should I do?
So, of course being the hard-headed-relentless Taurus that I am I went to the head of something and someone in charge who was supposed to hear my case and potentially let me in to the B.A. Program. After a bunch of calls and meetings I finally had an appointment with someone who would decide my case.
Someone who controlled my future.
I walked in the room to meet my fate master and a skinny man with a crazy 1980's mustache (not cool and en trend like they are today) stared me down. He kept chain smoking his Doral cigarettes and blowing smoke across the desk right in my face as I stated my case. "I didn't know I loved photography. I was undeclared major but now I know what I want. What can I do? I promise I won't drop out. I'm an honor student and I will not let you down."
Smoke. Smoke. Some more smoke.
"Sorry, we're not accepting any more people for the B.A. You can apply for the B.F.A. and show them your portfolio."
Again with the portfolio.
So, I stormed out (I was 18, okay?)
I cried a lot. I ugly cried a lot.
Then I got SUPER mad....I sort of did some grief stages quickly until I went back to Photo 101.
And there she was. Ardine Nelson. My amazing photo professor. After class I explained the quandary. I begged her as for what to do.
She said "Do nothing."
NOTHING? Are you Kidding Me?
"Do nothing. Keep your other major and sit in on the waitlist for all of the photo classes that you need. Someone will drop out of every class and make room for you. They always do. It will be fine." (not a direct quote, but you get the gist.)
So nothing is what I did. I majored in French. I also majored in Photography.
If you flip over my transcript from OSU every photo class is listed that would be required for a degree.*
I took 20 to 25 hours every semester. Worked 25 hours a week. Went to the club to dance at least 4 nights a week.
Production classes for photo were extremely hard to manage. I had hours and hours of lab time printing and reprinting.
For what? So you can flip over a transcript? So you can say "she sort of has a degree".
Nope. For resilience. For not ever letting Mr.DoralCigaretteMan decide my fate.
For learning at 18 years old that you don't always have to take the most obvious path.
Or, to be cliche, the easiest path either.
Obviously caffeine and the metabolism of an 18 year old have something to do with my success.
But I have carried my badge for all of these years knowing that just because someone tells me "no" isn't the end of the story. It's for me to decide. And it's for me to decide when enough is enough and it's time for a new story. I get to pick because it's mine.
Thank you Mr.DoralCigaretteMan.
And thank YOU for reading:)
*in case you ever see my transcript: I am, in fact missing one class. History of Photography. Everyone failed that class, so I skipped it. I bought a book on the side and read it on my own. Problem solved.