My son has loved all things acting since he was 2 years old. I took him to his first musical play when I was still a case manager along with my other clients. He sat there quietly and attentively watching every move from start to finish. The dark theater never bothered him nor did the sudden change in sounds from quiet to loud. He loved it.
Fast forward to junior high school to high school years. He took a love of engineering while still loving the thought of acting professionally. We sent him to engineering camp but somehow I think sending him to a theater camp would have sent him over the moon. Despite all of that there was still an internal battle of which road he would take after high school.
He had been the star of each show in junior high school but high school was a bit more challenging. He never was the star of the show but he always played a part. He did anything from set design to playing supporting roles. He even took a job two summers in a row that allowed him to get paid to do exactly what he loves, acting.
When it was time for college applications, they all had engineering as the major. We never thought about or considered that acting would be a major. It was never discussed. One Sunday at church, discussing the merits of HBCU’s compared to the Ivy League colleges he desired, someone talked about following your passion. A lightbulb went off for him and changed his course from engineer to acting.
We initially tried to tell him that he could still major in engineering and do acting at the same time but that advice fell on deaf ears. As a parent I was disappointed and frustrated not because I didn’t believe in him but because of the struggle that I knew that he would endure. I wanted to protect him but technically, he’s an adult now. It’s his decision.
Unfortunately, because we didn’t have the money for college he only spent one semester away. This reality fueled his passion for acting even more. I supported the decision but still mourned for the loss of my college educated child. I defended his decision to come home and fight for his dream because I knew how I felt fighting at my age with a boatload of responsibilities for my dreams.
I almost forgot why I am sharing. Sorry. I am sharing all of this because my son and other kids like him get flack for choosing non-traditional majors under the guise of it’s not transferable. After having a conversation with a relative, I realize that is a crock. A lot of majors are not transferrable. Pre-med, pre-law, nursing and education. If any of these people decide that they don’t like the profession or the profession does not love them, they still have to get another degree or figure out what’s next.
The truth is that there is some crazy stat that says the average college degreed individual is not working in the field for which they have a degree. I know several people that graduated from my college who are working in a totally different field. Did we all go get degrees for which our parents and society thought was acceptable or did we get a degree that we had chosen on our own?
I salute my son for following his dream. As a result of staying focused, he will play a role in Sister Act this weekend. He has not given up on his dream and is actively pursuing it. He also has been reapplying to colleges and making sure to complete scholarship applications. Prayerfully in the fall he will be attending Columbia College following his dream. He is doing everything he knows to do to follow his dream. Will you do the same?
Just another day’s journey of learning what it really means to follow your dreams.