Making decisions that affect the rest of your life is the worst kind of decision-making. Personally, I hate it. I mean, what happens if you change your mind within the next year? Where do you go from there? How is somebody supposed to know what they want to do for the rest of their life when they are only eighteen years old and ready to go to college? I know what you’re thinking: making those important decisions is part of being an adult, get used to it, kiddo!
But the truth is, I’ve found what I want to do with myself, at least for a while…
In about a month, I’ll be graduating college with an English degree. A what? Yes, I did say an English degree. Now go ahead and ask the question that’s already on the tip of your tongue, the one everybody asks. What are you going to do with that? Well, I’m not sure yet. I started my college career as a Music Education major and decided halfway through the semester that I despised it. I had been planning on this major for years, so when it all went downhill I felt rather lost. I changed to English because I was always good at it in high-school. From there, I joined the U.S. Army ROTC program because I had an interest in the military ever since the Marines came to talk to my school when I was in 8th grade. I loved this program for about a year and a half– it gave me the opportunity to learn how to shoot (I qualified sharpshooter my first time ever firing an M-16), and offered the opportunity for me to spend a month at Fort Knox, Kentucky for Leadership School where I learned how to be a leader, navigate in the backcountry, and how to solve problems quickly an efficiently.
So what went wrong? Again, I’m not 100% sure. At one point I decided to go on a two-week wilderness backpacking trip in Patagonia Argentina which changed my life forever and can be read about here and here. Upon my return, I found myself sitting in the Colonel’s office explaining that, while I do have an immense amount of respect for the ROTC program, I don’t think the Army is for me anymore.
So where exactly am I heading? I want to be a guide for the company that took me to Argentina. I want to get paid, however small that pay may be, to teach people about the outdoors, and offer that experience with another culture that changes that person for the better like it did for me just one year ago. I want to be able to travel and be outside, and to photograph landscapes and different cultures. When it’s all said and done, I’ll still keep the ability to write about the experiences and share them with you on here, or maybe even one day via a magazine.
I’ve been building my outdoors resume since I returned from Argentina. I lead a backpacking trip through the wilderness of Yosemite National Park, and climbed to the summit of Mt. Washington in the Winter in order to learn basic mountaineering skills (which I’ll be adding to next season!). I got Advanced Wilderness First Aid certified (I’ve made arm slings out of a baseball cap, a notebook, a fleece jacket, and shoelaces) and took a Summer job as a certified whitewater raft guide in Maine (which I’ll be returning to in a couple of months).
This season I’m going to be learning more about rock climbing and taking courses in sea kayaking to learn the skills necessary for both of these activities. I’m going to stick at my current job with AT&T, as well as my rafting job, in order to save some money to take an outdoor educators course which will greatly help me to better myself for my future career. This course includes 50 days of living in the mountains (Awesome!) while rock climbing, backpacking, and whitewater canoeing, as well as Wilderness First Responder Certification. I’m extremely excited for this course, but unfortunately can’t go until next Spring. Until then, AT&T it is, but that’s what it takes to get to where I want to be…
And that’s life.