After a freshman year of finding my path in life, and an incredible week-long art history class at Mesa Verde studying the ancestral Puebloans with my favorite professor Chip, I went home for the summer. Once again, I was asked what kind of job I would get with an art history degree, and in spite of my plan to graduate a year early and head off to get a master’s degree, my father got in my head and convinced me I needed to become a high school teacher so I could get a job.

The art education track at the University of Northern Colorado was quite different from the fine art track, and I wouldn’t have time to take any more art history classes. So I did what any confused college student would do and changed my major. I switched to English education, figuring I could teach and be an author at the same time (I had to explore that “A” on my list of what-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up! See previous post.) As a swimmer and age-group coach, I decided to minor in P.E. to get a coaching certificate. Surely I could get a job after graduation! I registered for Short Story, Poetry and Linguistics in the English department and Volleyball in Physical Ed, and my father urged me to take Business 101.

The English classes were great! I especially enjoyed writing in Short Story. My professor was very demanding, but I learned so much. Volleyball: let me just say that I still duck when an object is flying toward me (many in the class were on the UNC volleyball team). Business 101 was a test of my mental fortitude. The professor droned, the subject did not hold my interest, and in each class I was afraid I might run out screaming.

So it was a great day when I had to drop Business 101! While stretching with my swimming team mates one evening, I tore my hamstring. (That’s what happens when you show off and say you can do something you can no longer do!) Because of my schedule and class locations, the only way I could get to classes on time was on my bike, and now I was unable to ride. I also had to drop Volleyball (darn) and quit swimming.

Mentally and emotionally I was stripped bare. Finding this freshman-year charcoal drawing while cleaning my studio brought back the memories of losing myself as a sophomore. My mom was my rock as I spent many hours on the phone with her, crying and wondering what to do. I missed art and art history. I needed to get back to it. But I also felt like a fresh start would be beneficial and I should leave UNC. I swallowed my pride and met with Chip: he’d wondered where I’d been since he hadn’t seen me around the art department. He talked to me about transfer options and recommended several schools in the University of California system. While I really wanted to apply to a couple, there was no way I could afford them. I was despondent.

Then on one particularly tearful phone call, Mom said “have you looked at KU?”