I think, in some senses, every year has the potential to be a transformative year. Transformative is also not a word. Whatever. I like the way it sounds.
2009 was a year that resembled 2006 in a lot of ways for me: A lot of fun and a lot of uncertainty. Only instead of the prospect of college looming ahead I had the uncertainty of life post-college and in Spring 2009, at a job fair in Dallas, my life changed. I decided not to be a journalist anymore. Now that was a break from routine. Anxiety and ADD are cousins. Who's older? I don't know. But behind my own ADD, I have anxiety. That's probably genetic. On the plus side, I won't be going bald so yay! And I think it's kind of curious that a disorder that is comforted by order and routine is so closely related to one that well, isn't. So I think my anxiety just kind of seized up and let my ADD go FUCK IT WE'LL DO IT LIVE WHO CARES FOR THE CONSEQUENCES OF THIS DECISION.
Let's take a step back.
I wanted to be a journalist. It was a perfect way to combine my love for writing and reading with my innate desire to make a change. I had the passion for it. I saw that what I wrote could have a direct impact on people and policy. I had so much fun working for my newspaper AND learning about mass communication and journalism during that particular major. It felt like destiny that I would be a journalist. But then doubts crept in. Major doubts. It was easy to dismiss them at first as it was easy to dismiss a lot of things during the hurricane that was swirling (read: is swirling) inside my head.
But then they started getting bigger the more I became exposed to life outside the Rio Grande Valley bubble. I'd see how political being a journalist in markets beyond my own was. I'd see how other college newspapers were stifled by their own university in what amounted to total censorship OR I'd see how the big name student newspapers were pretty careless in their design and copy-editing. I saw how that didn't stop at the collegiate level. I'd see how ad revenue played a significant role in what was covered and what wasn't covered. I'd see the code of ethics that I held so dear was blatantly disregarded by journalists working for the largest outlets in the country.
And that afternoon at the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association convention, I found myself with the four other seniors in the staff that had been roused from our idle afternoon to "go and apply to jobs" and since we were running on Mexican time, by the time we got there, there were only three or four tables left. One was for the Armpit, Texas Courier-News-Daily-Whatever; the other was the Associated Press. Talk about black and white. I walked away from the AP table when the guy told my cousin (who at that point had had several years of multimedia experience in two different country) that she'd have to do some more work before he'd even consider her for an internship. I lined up at the Armpit, Texas table, actually flirted with a girl from Dallas (who'd later become my girlfriend, hooray for late blooming) then when it was my turn to talk to the lady she basically said that I'd be getting paid peanuts.
So I kinda had to take a step back and be like...where does this leave me?
Where else could I take the storm?
I returned to Brownsville, where I'd spend the rest of that Spring semester in a bit of a daze trying to figure out what the fuck I was going to do. Luckily, I touched base with my old boss from my high school volunteering days. He recommended being a lawyer. Told me to hit up the lady running a pre-law summer course.
Back to the things going on inside my head.
Those with ADD/ADHD tend to fixate on things. I made law my focus.
But then the old "coast, then attempt to ace" came back with a passion. I did extremely well in the summer course only to not take the LSAT as seriously as I should have. And my score suffered. Then, when I took it again later that semester, my focus was still on three steps ahead and where I'd go that I said fuck it, I'll take the LSAT cold.
(Never take the LSAT cold.)
My law school list included UGA, Drake, U. Wisconsin, Michigan State, Houston, Texas Tech, Baylor, St. Mary's, Southern Methodist, and South Texas College of Law. I smile to think at that list because I can guarantee you my life would have been SO different had I been accepted in any of those schools that first go-around.
But I took the LSAT as cold as a Wisconsin winter.
I graduated that winter with two degrees, the company of family and friends, and a soundtrack provided by DJ Earworm's United States of Pop 2009.