People always talk about “doing what you love” or “finding your passion.” Poetic and valid, yes, but the process is not exactly one-size-fits-all. You can’t discover your passion from a Google search. I came to Cedarville undeclared—I had no idea what to do with myself. I wasn’t overly worried, but I was on the edge of my proverbial seat, waiting for what the next chapter in my story might be about. Turns out, the Lord wrote it better than I ever could have.
My story did not begin with Professional Writing and Information Design. I first declared public speaking as my major, but only for a semester. I loved it! Giving speeches was a blast. I realized the power and responsibility held in articulation. I figured that this skill could prepare me for various roles in ministry, and that was my main concern. I wanted to study something of value in which I could find satisfaction and integrate my faith. But as much as I loved the major, it wasn’t right for me. I couldn’t explain it, but I knew my story had something else in the chapters to follow. I wanted a different challenge.
So, I made a big switch to molecular and cellular biology. Talk about a different challenge. I assumed there would be many opportunities in the medical field to minister to people, and certainly it would be satisfying to play a part in bringing people back to health. So, during that full year of science classes, I studied harder than I ever had before. And I loved it! I enjoyed sitting down to do homework for hours on end. I was fascinated by the vast amount of information that I had access to. However, I realized that I simply had a passion for learning, not for biology itself. I knew this wasn’t right for me. I had the capability, but I didn’t have the passion. The Lord wasn’t writing this into the next chapters of my life either.
“Why weren’t these majors right—especially if I loved them both?” I’d ask myself. I had everything else in place. I had defined my life goals, not just my career goals. I hoped to marry my boyfriend and have a family someday. I wanted to move back home to the farm. I planned to show my family the world just like my parents did. Most of all, I desperately wanted to serve the Lord with my whole heart in my career. But I still didn’t know what that would be.
After a long night of scouring the academic catalog, I saw a program called Professional Writing and Information Design. I flipped to the next major. But then I flipped back. After looking into it a little more, I emailed Professor Carrington and scheduled a meeting with him the next day.
I walked into his office prepared. I had laid out my four-year plan in perfect detail. I had my questions written down. I was ready to make a good, intelligent first impression.
After finding my seat across from his desk and shaking hands, I summarized my situation for him. He smiled. I was on task, going at Mach speed, but he slowed our conversation down. He said he wasn’t so worried about my competency, but about my interests. He said that if I liked it, I would most likely do well. He said that the best students are the ones who like their studies.
I mirrored his smile. I took a deep breath. I didn’t know it then, but I had walked right into one of the most important meetings of my life. I was skeptical at first, though. I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around why anyone would want to write. For me, writing had always been an assignment. I had a knack for it in high school (thanks to a great English teacher), but I never practiced it in my free time. In spite of my doubt, the Lord gave me an inkling that I might like it. By the end of the meeting I had switched my major again!
I began my writing classes. “I can see this. I love my homework. I can feel how this will fit in to ministry—I have so many ideas…” I would catch myself saying over and over again. I began to notice concepts from the classroom bleeding into other aspects of my life. Writing classes not only taught me how to write; they changed my mindset. Every word should be considered carefully to accomplish the purpose of the document, just like every action and every thought should accomplish my purpose: to praise God. I knew that I was giving it my all. This chapter of my story kept getting better.
It’s not over yet, and I wouldn’t re-write my college experience any other way. I gained valuable insights and skills from my previous majors that have helped me become a good writer. Public speaking gave me a respect for words, persuading, and connecting to others. Biology sparked my interest for diverse knowledge and taught me personal discipline to keep the spark burning. Professional Writing has given me a platform to unify those passions into a satisfying practice. I love helping people say what they want to say, effectively. I love simplifying things. I love improving things. This major isn’t for everyone, but it sure is for me. The Lord is a grand Author.