When I first went to college, I had a plethora of people attempting to direct my path for selecting a major. Most of the choices were driven by the greater possibility of getting hired once I graduated. As a result, I attempted three different majors before finally taking charge of my own future. At that point, I would like to think that English chose me because I was just good enough to convince others that I would be successful with it. Selecting English as a major was my first step to emancipation. It was the first time that I really pushed back and said, “No, this is my future, not yours.”
Once I began studying at Queens College, I found a deeper love for English than I could have ever imagined. The entire department was filled with thoughtful and diverse instructors who encouraged free thinking. I was able to express myself on paper in ways that I never knew possible.
That first liberating step led me to ultimately join the U.S. Navy. I signed over my freedom to the military for a greater freedom only few could understand. Despite having a degree, I had to enlist instead of getting commissioned because I was not a U.S. citizen. I did over two years of hard labor as an undesignated seaman before I got a rate: one’s occupational specialization. I selected Mass Communications Specialist (MC), which is the closest thing to my degree that I could have hoped for in the military. It is a combination of journalism, photography, videography, and graphic design. I found that the work ethic I developed in college proved helpful in both obtaining and completing the technical course for my rate.
I still do not know how long I plan to stay in the military. Right now, I go by the title, Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class. But, I know that my relationship with English is far from over. I may soon bear the title ‘author’ or maybe even ‘professor’ someday. Either way, I am excited for whatever the future may hold.
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