If you had told me in high school that by the end of my college career I’d be pursuing a career in writing/journalism, I would have told you how asinine that statement was. In high school, my best subject was math – nothing else came close. Homework for me was more like “passing-time work” or “lunch work,” and I was pulling out A’s and A+’s. I would do math and physics homework for other students, and in exchange they would do my English and history work. Writing sucked. I hated it.
When I entered college, I knew what I wanted to major in, but not what I wanted to pursue as a job. I started as a math and economics double major. I wanted to study economics because I felt it would be good to apply my math knowledge rather than just doing math for math’s sake. But again, there was no end goal yet. Life after college was a problem for my future-self to deal with.
Early in my college career, however, problems arose that present-me absolutely had to deal with: I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a chronic gastrointestinal disease that rendered my college experience less than ideal. For the sake of word count and your comfort, just know this disease causes writhing abdominal pain paired with pretty graphic bowel movements. I was in and out of the hospital constantly, on loads of different meds with loads of side effects. My windowsill looked like what I imagined that of a sickly old man’s would resemble; orange bottles were everywhere.
It flat-out sucked. When I was able to have a social life, it still wasn’t very social. It took everything in me to perform simple tasks like grocery shopping or going to a friend’s house. Once I finally mustered the confidence to go out, I still wasn’t social.
I wouldn’t talk to my friends. I wouldn’t engage in conversation. I would just sit there, keeping to myself wondering when I would be in pain again and if whatever food was being served was approved for the diet I had been assigned. Should I take the risk of eating it? If something goes wrong, where are the bathrooms? How will people react if I end up in pain, not knowing the disease and the severity of its complications? Yeah, these were a few stressful years in my life.
But I am better. Getting there came at the expense of three college semesters among other things, but I am better nonetheless.
And now – the point of all of this. People always tell you to find what you love and let it kill you, find a job that allows to never work a day in your life – all that cliché stuff. Getting sick made me realize what I want in life: to talk about sports for a living.
The one constant from my math-loving days until now has been sports. I love playing, talking about, watching, listening to, etc., sports. I took those cliché sayings to heart and decided I want to, hopefully, make a career out of it.
When I started writing for The Lamron, I wasn’t even sure if I was good at writing. It was the only forum I knew of that allowed me to creatively discuss all things sports. And now I am going to intern with the Buffalo Bills for the 2014-15 regular season, which provides some confirmation that I am at least decent at writing about sports.
Sorry for being mushy, but this is my reflection on my college career. Before being sick, I was all about the numbers and likely would have ended up in a job that felt like a job, miserable and disengaging. Post-illness, I realized that I should take things I already do on an everyday basis and see if I can get paid for that.
My college experience was atypical and in no way free of bad memories, but I think that going through what I did, the rest of my life is set up to be full of positive ones.