This topic is particularly personal to me and I’ve struggled for four days now with how to write about something so intimate – but feel like it needs to be done in the hope that it will help me work harder towards my dreams and inspire others to start living life for theirs as well.
I am sure that I am not the only one that struggles with trying to please other people instead of completely living for themselves. I think we all do it, and women especially have a tendency to want to appease others. I find that there is often an internal struggle between going for the things we really want and doing what we think would please other people. Growing up in a traditional Asian household, expectations were high. I think any first generation Asian growing up in Canada can relate to their parents desire for them to become a doctor, surgeon, dentist, accountant, lawyer or any other sort of medical or legal professional. Although I love my parents and they gave my sisters’ and I every opportunity in the world (which, I am extremely thankful for) my house was no different in this regard. I can remember my dad telling me he wanted me to be a lawyer since the age of 5 and there have been countless discussions over the dinner table about how important it is for me to pursue a professional designation.
Please don’t get me wrong – I think being a lawyer or doctor are two extremely respectable career options and I have a lot of admiration for people in both professions. In fact, it was the career I’ve hoped to pursue for most of my life and going into law is something I’m still considering. Which, might lead you to ask “then what is the point of this post?!” Well this year, I finally gained the courage to admit that perhaps pursuing a law degree wasn’t necessarily something I knew I wanted to be doing, but was something I was doing in the hopes of making other people happy. I have often wished that I was capable of being a lawyer and that it was something I truly knew that I wanted to do. I feel if that were the case, many aspects of my life would be a lot easier. For one thing my dad would be ecstatic, and I would probably have a certain amount of job security not always guaranteed in other fields, not to mention the fact that it is still a highly respectable profession. When you tell people you want to be a lawyer – they think you are smart, look at you a little differently, and are generally pretty supportive of that endeavor. On the other hand when you tell people you want to work on the business side of the fashion industry as a buyer for a major retailer like Holt Renfrew or Neiman Marcus they often look at you like you’re bat shit crazy.
So here I am a year and a half out of my undergraduate degree still trying to figure out what I want to do but learning to be a little better at listening to my heart. So instead of taking my LSAT and applying to law school this summer I am applying to a post graduate certificate program in retail management instead, and hope to be completing a degree in fashion studies, merchandising and marketing next fall.
Although I still struggle with feelings of inadequacy for not going to law school or pursuing a regular masters degree program, as they say, the heart wants what the heart wants. After working this past year I’ve realized that life is just too short to settle and not go for what you want… especially in your twenties. So here I am, extremely terrified but hopefully on the path to pursuing my dream of becoming somebody in the fashion industry. Of course, it has helped tremendously to have a great deal of support. Much to my surprise, my mom, godmother, both my sisters, my friends, and my boyfriend have all been incredibly supportive of this endeavor – encouraging me to pursue a career that I love and am excited about and that truly makes me happy… and quite honestly their support has meant the world. I no longer feel as alone in this decision and am more inspired to follow my dreams. I don’t know where I will end up, but I feel like I am on my way and hopefully by this time next year I will have completed my certificate program and been accepted into an associate or masters degree program in fashion studies and will be one step closer to having my dream job.
I hope this post wasn’t too much of a confessional and will help at least one other person to shoot for the stars. The constellations might look different to all of us, but I think it’s a goal worth pursuing.