Earlier this week, I ran into an old friend who I took a few minutes to catch up with, and she was shocked to learn I worked as a writer. Her bewildered expression could not be missed, and I braced myself for the question I knew was coming.
“Why did you become a writer? Most people from our culture around here become nurses or teachers,” she said. I let out a breath and said, “I know.”
I recalled the day I confessed to my father I had switched majors. I was certain he was going to have a heart attack. We sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity, tension building between us and the air seem to thicken. He finally spoke, giving me one of those lectures a parent gives a child when they think he or she is making the wrong decision. My father is a firm believer that math and science courses are the most valuable and important and are essential to your success.
I pursued a degree in drafting and designed technology after high school, and after graduation, I continued to further my education at UAH following an engineering field. Changing degrees and transferring schools was a huge decision for me and a pivotal point in my college career, but I followed my passion for literature and writing. I recall my father asking me if I was really going to waste all my years of school building up to an engineering degree and throw away all the hard work.
My heart was not in it, and although I had made it halfway, it was not something I felt I could do for the rest of my life, and I knew it was hard for him as a parent to understand. Writing has been a passion of mine for a very long time. I enjoy hearing people’s stories, struggles and giving them a voice.
While it has its stressful moments, there are also a lot of great ones. Establishing a connection with a person and understanding their background is one of the most compelling and exciting aspects of my job. Developing my writing has been one of my top priorities since graduating from Jacksonville State University.
I encourage others to pursue their dream careers because there is never a right time, sometimes you have to take the plunge. My other degrees and education are something no one can take from me, and as the late Alfred Lord Tennyson said, “it’s better to have tried and failed than to live life wondering what would’ve happened if I had tried.”
— Cinthia Rico is a staff writer for the Times-Journal. Her column appears in the paper’s weekend edition. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.