T.G.I.F: Anything Goes-Part 1 October 20th



Welcome to the first post of the series T.G.I.F.- Anything Goes! You can find this post coming in on Fridays. This series is the fifth a group of 7 daily blog series posts, which will be in addition to the regular unscheduled posts. Check out the Series Schedule page for more info on the daily series posts. If you missed some of the other series posts, I’ll link them here for you.

Case of the Mondays: Part 1

Transparent Tuesdays: Part 1

Working Wednesdays: Part 1

Theological Thursdays: Part 1

I am very excited about this post, as it is my first “anything goes” post. Since I am still getting the new blog up and running and getting into the swing of things, I haven’t had any time to do any ‘unscheduled’ posts- which is why I made one day of the weekly series an “anything goes”. It gives me an outlet without getting into a rut of ONLY pre-scheduled prompts.

T.G.I.F: Why College-Aged People Should NOT Be Allowed to Make Major Life Decisions

Okay so that was not my original title, my original title was “T.G.I.F: What happens when you choose a college based on the major you want to complete, only to find out that it is NOT a desirable future AND your university does not have a major for your new dream.”, but that is the longest title ever.

In case you aren’t exactly awake yet this morning and didn’t make the connection, that happened to me.

I actually did the one thing that every high school counselor, teacher, and mentor advises against. I only applied to ONE school. I had spent my entire high school career with my heart just set on going to The University of Alabama (ROLL FREAKING TIDE). I visited U of A, and actually HATED IT. My whole world turned upside down for a couple of months there, before I went to visit The University of Southern Mississippi (SMTTT!!!). USM is both of my parents Alma Mater and I just wasn’t ready to commit to following a family legacy like that. That sort of thing just was not my style. Plus, my father is still super involved on campus and my parents know just about everyone in Hattiesburg, it seems. I really didn’t like the idea of that. I reluctantly visited though, and my heart was at home. I’m sure at some point, I will make a post about those visits, just because they were polar opposites and it is very interesting actually. So once my heart was happy, USM was the only place I needed to apply- provided my research shows that they have the majors I was considering. So here is how USM checked out to my 2012, 18 year old self:

Elementary Education major? Available, and highly ranked nationally!

Psychology major? Available, and highly ranked nationally!

Instructional Technology? Available, and highly ranked nationally!

Perfect. Done. Sold. I could not have imagined myself in a situation where I wasn’t going to pursue teaching or psychology. Since color guard isn’t a career, those were the only two things I was passionate about!

So that was it! My college search was done. I applied, got in, got my scholarships, and there was not a second thought about it.

FAST FORWARD 2013-2014-2015

I spent my first few years of college really struggling grade wise. I was always one of those kids that didn’t have to work hard in high school, so it was a whole new world in college. I really was not feeling Elementary Education as my major. I didn’t like the specific required general education courses it required. I didn’t like being 1 of what seemed like a million girls pursuing the same degree at USM- seriously something like 1 in 3 girls there were ElmEd majors. Most of all though, I just new it wasn’t something I was ever going to really get into, but I also didn’t want to turn my world upside down again. Just as I had had my heart set of U of A, I had also spent my entire high school years set on becoming a teacher- so I was going to suck it up. You can force yourself to like anything… right? There were some semesters where I really seemed to get organized and bunker down and get better grades. One of those semesters in particular was Spring 2015. I had gotten a job at Quality Flooring as an office assistant, where when I had down time, I was able to work on my school work. That made life really easy. In my time working at Quality Flooring, I had such a great time, great coworkers, and an overall great experience, that I DID NOT want to go back and work at Steak ‘N Shake for the summer. So I started applying anywhere and everywhere to try to get a job similar to Quality Flooring, just in the area of my home in Missouri. That’s how I found lifeguarding at the Rec-Plex. No, it definitely was not similar to Quality Flooring, but it wasn’t Steak ‘N Shake and it could give me a lot of hours. I also had always wanted to lifeguard when I was a little kid because it always seemed like such a cool job. Turns out, I fell IN LOVE with lifeguarding, with aquatics, and with the whole atmosphere I had gotten into. I had managed to stumble upon a passion similar to that of color guard, but actually had a long term career option available.

Upon my return to USM in the Fall of 2015, I began scouring the campus for anything close to a degree in recreation. The closest thing that was available at USM was Recreational Therapy through the School of Kinesiology. I tried to convince myself that that would work, that it was similar enough to get me through and to satisfy me. I met with the School of Kinesiology advisors, I met with my Elementary Education advisors. I was doing everything I could to try to pursue my passion.

But my grades weren’t good enough to change majors yet.

So I was stuck in the pursuit of an Elementary Education degree.

That is when I decided to try to do the Disney College Program (I GUARANTEE THERE WILL BE A POST/MULTIPLE POSTS ABOUT THIS). I decided to try to lifeguard, as the license I already had was also the one used at Disney. I applied, when through the interview process, and got accepted to lifeguard. I did that program in Spring 2016. I tried to do online classes through USM while I was at Disney, but I took on too many honestly. It ended up being more detrimental to the GPA I had been doing a good job of rebuilding. Had I stayed at USM, I probably would have rebuilt my GPA up to par during that semester, but that wasn’t my passion, and Disney allowed me to practice my passion with a, massively resume building, fortune 100 company.

I came home from Disney after that semester- May of 2016. I started my break from USM that has not yet ended. During my break, I have begun to further my career in aquatics- sans degree. I moved up from lifeguard to head lifeguard at the Rec-Plex. I began as an assistant manager at Midwest Pool Management. I have since left both of those jobs to take on an Aquatics Manager position in Southwest Missouri. I am constantly making efforts to progress in my field. I hold more lifeguarding certifications/licenses than any of my peers (not including superiors). Soon I will be getting my CPO (Certified Pool Operator) Certification, which is required by this job. I will be a Red Cross certified water safety instructor (WSI) and water safety instructor trainer (WSIT). I am going to get my Red Cross lifeguard instructor (LGI), possibly instructor trainer (LGIT) in the future. I am going to be ServSafe certified. All of these things will contribute to the furthering of my career in my field.

In addition to all of this, I still want/will need that degree. I want to be a valuable asset to the aquatics community, and I cannot do that to my full potential without that degree. Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, KS is 30 minutes from my home. That is where I intend to complete my bachelors in Recreation Administration.

All in all, in my research over the past couple of years, I have found out that lots of universities have recreation programs, even though USM did not. I probably could have loved one of those schools just as much- and been able to pursue my passion from the moment it was discovered. I certainly do not regret my time at USM. I met some of my favorite people in my life there- some people I want around for the long haul. I learned some of my hardest life lessons there- lessons I want to remember, so as not to have to make the same mistakes and relive the same or similar experiences. I also had some of the greatest experiences of my life there. The first time I stepped on the field at The Rock with The Pride of Mississippi, will forever be revered in my heart as the all-time best thing I will ever experience; Monopolizing the Hillcrest family room to watch the CMAs once a year is still my favorite way to watch the CMAs; Running around on the one time it snowed in Mississippi this century with literally every other student on campus- watching them try to make snowballs out of what wasn’t even really snow, but just little pellets of ice blanketing the ground. There is a lot I am thankful to have experienced during my time at USM. My only regret is feeling like I couldn’t get out of Elementary Education and try to find something I wanted to do. If I had actively searched, I probably could have found a situation much more desirable for my heart and for my future. I was truly afraid of letting myself and others down if I didn’t graduate FROM USM, that I was going to just suck it up and just get it done. Obviously that really didn’t work as my heart just wasn’t in it. I will certainly never regret my time spent as a Golden Eagle (even though I will honestly always consider myself a Golden Eagle), but I am definitely looking forward to the possibility of becoming a Pitt State Gorilla and gaining all the relevant knowledge from obtaining a degree in my field. That is truly an exciting feeling when your field is something you are extremely eager to learn about and extremely passionate about.

See you next week for more T.G.I.F: Anything Goes!


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