It doesn’t matter
It doesn't matter and it does. In highschool we think that this decision will determine the rest of our lives. We think that once we start in this direction, there is no going back. That is not true on multiple levels. You can start college with a degree and then change it. You can get multiple degrees. You can study one thing for a bachelors and something completely different for a masters. You can study one thing and end up with a job that is completely different. It doesn't matter that much.
That being said, pick something that interests you enough to finish. Pick your passion and work hard to make it work. Or pick something that is only slightly interesting and do it to support your passions.
I picked Web Development by going through all my interests and comparing their work environment and pay. I could have been an English major. I could have played the French Horn. I could have done graphic development. But I liked the environment and pay of Web Development. Now I work at home and write in the evenings. Sometimes I do graphic development on my own time.
Good luck and have fun. No matter what you choose, enjoy yourself.
Do, there is no try
Go and carry out the desires of your heart, determined to accomplish the goal with which you have set forth, for if you suffer the weasel of doubt to worm his way into your mind and tell you that you cannot accomplish it, if you attempt with only half an effort, believing that the task is hopeless, it will be as if you had done nothing at all.
When I was a girl, I pulled out my eyebrows. It started with a light brushing with my fingertips. I noticed the tiny hairs falling down. I began to pull at them and realized there were more loose hairs. It was a nervous habit. I was living at Nannaw’s house for a couple weeks. She was the only great-grandmother I really knew. I think the jolt of going from 7 people crowded in a two bedroom mobile home to Nannaw’s house was shocking. Maybe I was bored. I had a habit of waking up at 5am and Nannaw didn’t wake until 10. So I distracted myself by looking through her things and writing in my journal. And I pulled at my eyebrows. Maybe it was stress. We had sold our mobile home and didn’t have anywhere to go. We were homeless again. On their own accord, it seemed, my fingers would go up and touch them, feeling the bristles. My life felt loose, like those hairs. I pulled and pulled, loosening them. Removing them. I liked the sense of control it gave me. And then I discovered my eyelashes. I covered my lap with tiny hairs. When I saw Mom next, it took her a while to figure out what was different.
“It’s your eyebrows!” She exclaimed.
“Your eyebrows are completely gone! What happened?”
“They’re gone?” I had no idea.
Nannaw was 73 and young for being a great grandmother. But to a ten-year-old, a full head of white hair meant you were ancient. She liked to sit in her plush rocking chair for hours knitting. I in the back room staring at the ceiling. My cousin wasn't outside waiting to play in the old barn and there was nothing to do.
The back room was full of things that were older than me. Probably even the patched up quilt blanket was older than me. There was a neat path that lead around the piles boxes of papers and porcelain dolls from the door to the side of the bed. In the corner was a desk overflowing with notes and books on genealogy. There was a glass cabinet with all sorts of figurines and glass dishes.
What really caught my eye was a picture of a couple. There was a pretty lady with curly hair in a sundress next to a young man with black hair and an open collared white shirt. On the back was a poem.
"Your love was all consuming me
It burned with passion
in the dead of night.
Your love was hot and burning me
and from the ashes
I took my flight."
Under the picture was a black leather bound book with yellowed pages. Inside was lines and lines of a loopy handwriting.
"We did break up once." I could just hear Nannaw's raspy southern voice through the words, "He said his mother wanted him to marry a girl in the church. We went to a movie after that and I cried all the way through it. I couldn't imagine life without him. Two weeks later as I came out of my office on a Friday, his car was parked out front. I guess he couldn't imagine life without me. My parents had not been happy but they accepted it. They had wanted us to be married by the Baptist preacher who married them. But George wanted us to be married in his church. My parents then would not come to the wedding."
I thought of my great grandma, standing up to her parents and marrying someone they didn't approve of. After returning as a paratrooper in World War II, my great-grandfather went to small high school where they met. They said he came back with PTSD. They didn't know how bad it was till later.
I flipped through the pages and read, "My mother wanted to be a school teacher. She did get to substitute teach some while she was in school if one of the teachers was absent. But she didn't get to go to college. There wasn't any money for college in the family. They we're farmers like most of their family and neighbors. Small farms were everywhere then. She had to work in the fields like the rest of her family. She learned to hoe the cotton really well. They called it chopping cotton. They chopped the grass out from around the cotton plants."
I thought of the rusted old scythe hanging up in the hall by the rotary dial clock.
"That was my granddaddy's scythe." She had told me one day. "When I was a girl I had to help him pick the cotton. I filled a whole ton bag myself."
That made picking weeds in our garden at home seem easy. I thought of our little white mobile home that wasn't going to be ours any longer and I wondered where we would go. Daddy was going back to college to finish and become a chiropractor.
"In November," Nannaw wrote, "my husband began experiencing recurring health problems from a service injury. He needed to go for a period of a month to the Veteran's Hospital. I rented a room near the hospital."
My dad had just spent a week in the hospital too. The doctor said it was probably a spider bite. There were always spiders crawling around in our house. He woke up one morning not able to speak because his face was so swollen. He missed an entire week of work subbing at the junior high and added more debt to his already heavy loans.
"What are you lookin' at in here?" I froze. There was Nannaw in the doorway, her house dress crumpled up in the crevices of her midsection.
"I found this old journal." I said, holding it out. "And this picture. Is it you?"
"Oh." She said and sat down on the edge of the bed. "Yes, that is me and George before we got married."
"Do you miss him?"
"I miss him." She sighed and her blue eyes grew misty. "When he first passed, leaving me with four children, I didn't know what to do. I missed him more than anything. I never loved anyone like I did him."
"When we move," I said, "I'm going to miss you. And our home, even if it does have spiders. I don't know if I can be happy in a new place. I don't want to be the new girl again."
She reached out an grabbed my hand, pressing it firmly. "You know, the Lord works in mysterious ways. After George died, the government gave us a pension because of his military service. Because of that pension, I was not only able to take care of the children, but go to college and get two degrees. And then I sent each of the kids who wanted to go to college too. We've been blessed beyond measure. If you are willing, the Lord will bless you wherever you live. He can make bitter things sweet."
I smiled back at her and nodded. It was her blood running through my veins. I could do hard things too.
All passions count
I like to say that anything can become a great career with enough creativity. Tell him to decide how much he is going to put in to making his drumming a source of income. I had a friend who was a percussionist. He studied music and became a professor. At some points in his life, they had to supplement their income with a family band that played at gigs. They made it work. Your friend could teach drumming, or make a you tube channel or join a band, you never know.
That being said, if your friend is not willing to be creative and work really hard to get his name out there, a back up might be a good idea. Studying something in college does not mean you will do that the rest of your life. And you can study more than one thing in college. We tend to make this decision a lot harder than it really is. There are so many possibilities.
I hand my daughter a stem of yellow leaves on the ground. She is one year old and still thinks the way of exploring the world is through her mouth. I pick up a red leaf and hand it to her. I wonder if it taste like cherry. The falling leaves mark the end of a season, the end of life, but I can't help but think for her it's a beginning. She doesn't remember last year. In her mind, she has never seen the leaves change color. For all she knows, they do taste like cherries. Or lemon drops. Or orange taffy. She has to try them all. I imagine what she will think when she sees snow. Or tries to eat an icicle. She has the entire world to discover. Witnessing it reminds me that I take for granted the beauty around me. I recently took an online test to determine my strengths. One of the questions keeps coming back to me. "Do you see beauty in the world that other people miss?" Do I put always, sometimes, or never? I see beauty around me, but do I miss some of it? Looking through my daughter's eyes, I can see there is beauty around me that I miss. And if I take a look, I might wonder at the toffee flavored leaves on the tree outside.