About four years ago I was at a crossroads—the one where you have to choose a college major. The one where you have to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. For the previous 19 years, I had my heart set on becoming a veterinarian, but somewhere between Chemistry and Zoology, I decided that wasn’t for me. So there I was, 3 years of college under my belt and still no idea where I wanted to go with my life, where I wanted to invest my time and money or who I wanted to become in the career world. But, I did know one thing, I wanted to help people. I wanted a job that when I came home everyday I would know I made a positive difference in other’s lives. So, I started researching and that’s when I learned about occupational therapy. It offered a good pay, with an increasing number of available jobs, and most importantly, it was all about helping others to live their lives better. I thought it would be perfect for me so, I met with my advisor and applied to the program. Unfortunately, my advisor pretty much guaranteed that my GPA was not going to get me into the program. She told me I needed a plan B, which would more than likely become plan A. You see, my whole life I had been a straight A student, but the first three years of college weren’t the absolute greatest for me. I made a lot of poor decisions. Some so bad that one semester by GPA was barely greater than the price of a McDonald’s sweet tea. I left my advisors office crying, pretty certain I had ruined my chances at becoming anything. I started developing a plan B and it was an Art degree, because I loved art and it didn’t require a 3.8. I cried some more, I prayed about it. I told God I was placing this decision in His hands. I came across the following verse, “A man’s heart plans his ways, but the Lord directs his steps,” (Proverbs 16:9), and I prayed for faith to believe it was true. I waited several months to receive a letter from the OT department and when it finally came, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had been accepted into the program, bad GPA, poor decisions and all. I truly couldn’t believe it had happened, but it was the confirmation I needed to know that this was exactly what I was supposed to do with my life.
The first semester in the program I absolutely loved it, but that’s about as far as the love made it. Every semester thereafter up until one month ago, I hated it. I hated it to the point where I honestly believed that I hated occupational therapy, too. To the point where I knew in my heart that I wasn’t going to use this degree. To the point where if you asked anyone in the program who despised it most, they would without a doubt say it was me. I complained about every paper, every test, every thing. I choose to not see the good in any of it. There’s a pretty good chance I drove the people around me insane. I had no faith and I knew I had made the wrong career decision, even though I had given that decision to God. This past December, I told my friends that unless I went to fieldwork and something major happened, that I would never be an occupational therapist.
Somewhere between all of the hate, I became inspired by a video project to begin pursuing wedding videography and photography. I videoed my first wedding a year and a half ago and I loved it, so I kept doing it. I began seeing videography as my future, as my bread and butter. What could be better than taking your hobby and turning it into job? Absolutely nothing. I mean don’t they say that if you love your job, you never work a day in your life? So basically, if I did videography I’d never work and it would be rewarding because I'd get to help people capture some of the best moments of their life. Heck yes, videography was the whole package! I began the plans of making my business official and I knew this was going to be what I did for the rest of my life. But the more I got into it, when I actually starting getting paid to do it, the more I started to realize that turning my hobby into my job maybe wasn’t as great as I thought. When the pay came, so did the stress. So did the hours upon hours upon hours of sitting in front of the computer. So did the weekends spent away from my friends and family at a wedding or editing away. So did the creative meltdowns. With every inquiry I got or wedding I booked, I became a little more stressed about it. I was doing all of this on top of going to school and working and it was just too much. Truth be told, getting paid to do my hobby kind of took the fun out of it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad, but it’s not all great either… as with anything. But, as much as I loved videography and as much as everyone around me encouraged me that this was the job I needed to do, I began questioning whether or not I wanted to.
My first day of fieldwork for OT was January 5, 2015. I walked into Shriner’s scared to death. Despite the fact that I had made straight A’s throughout the entire OT program, I was certain I had no idea what I was doing. I had no clue how to treat a client. And don’t forget, I hated occupational therapy. I was pretty certain I would love the children, but I wouldn’t love the job. Over the past month and a half, I’ve learned that I was completely wrong. For the past 4 years, my professors have told me that I’m going into the greatest profession ever and only now am I beginning to understand what they meant. It’s not about the job itself, but it’s about the people. Every single day I am inspired by my clients. I’m inspired by their stories, strength, and perseverance. I’m not sure I’ve taught them anything, but they’ve taught me more than they could ever imagine. There hasn’t been one day that I’ve left Shriner’s and not been humbled by what I’ve experienced. I cry happy tears at least once a week and I’ve felt God’s spirit within those hospital walls every single day. When Solomon wrote Proverbs, he wasn’t kidding when he wrote that our hearts plan our ways, but Lord directs our steps. When I handed my career decision over to God four years ago, He knew that being accepted into the OT program was right for me, even though I doubted it every single day for four years. I’d be lying if I said I was confident in myself as an occupational therapist and I would definitely be lying if I told you I feel like I know what I’m doing—because most days I still have no idea. But I do know that this is where I am supposed to be.... I’ve never been so sure.
So, what’s the point in this story? There’s a few. First and foremost, it’s to say that in life it may take us years and years to understand God’s plan, but it’s most definitely worth the wait. It’s to say that God’s plan isn’t always the easy and beautiful route, in fact, it may be the hardest. It’s to admit that I’ve been wrong and to say that I’m sorry to those of you who had to put up with my negativity for the past four years. It’s to admit that my professors were actually right. It’s to say that I have no idea exactly what the future holds, but if I choose to have faith and give it to God, it will probably be much better than I expected.
I'm eating those words I spoke to my friends back in December, because It’s to say that I will be an occupational therapist and videography/photography will continue to be my “hobby.” I will only be taking on a very small number of weddings and videography projects each year, 10 or less (and probably less). Good thing is, I know a few videographers who are absolutely amazing and passionate about their work and I would love to recommend you to them!
So I’ll leave you with this. If you’re anxious about your future and you don’t know what’s right for you or what’s wrong, just give it to God.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will guide you with My eye.” – Psalm 32: 8