When I was five years old, I told my teacher I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up. Now, as a freshman in college, I have dreams of becoming a journalist and a professional writer.

A lot has changed since then, obviously, and almost no one keeps their kindergarten promise, or even remembers what his or her answer to that question was so many years ago. I remember that answer because realizing writing was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life was a big moment for me. But most students going through the educational system don’t have an idea of what that feeling is like. For me, it started with an involvement in the arts.

When I proudly showed my parents the full length novella I wrote when I was 12, and of course read it, they knew I needed to do something with writing. During my freshman year of high school, I was enrolled in a local organization that was designed to give students who like to write an outlet to share their work, express themselves, receive positive feedback, and meet dignified authors and writers as friendly instructors help them with their writing. Through the program, I grew as a writer exponentially. I met so many people on their way to becoming amazing writers and used their influences to aid my own work. I gravitated more toward the poetry,and was even lucky enough to have some of my own pieces formally published in local anthologies and literary magazines. I never told my parents or close friends, but I truly believe I found myself in writing. Nothing ever seemed complete to me until I picked up a pencil at 12 years old and just wrote. I didn’t have any special feelings for science or math or history in school like the other kids; I loved English, reading books and writing essays more than all of those combined. When family members or other adults would ask me, “What’s your favorite subject?” And I said English, a similarly disappointing sound of, “Oh,” would be their response. But that didn’t matter to me. Sometimes I think the reason people become writers is because it’s something they think they’re good at, as if anyone can write a paper for a class and get an A. For me, I chose to write because it was a feeling inside of me that I couldn’t ignore, like English chose me to be its favorite subject. And since then, it’s always been my belief that an expression of the arts is essential for any student looking to better their psyche or even for someone going through college undeclared and clueless about their own dreams or future.

At Plattsburgh State, there are an abundance of liberal arts courses, clubs, and programs to keep any creative thinker interested.

From art and journalism to music and theatre, a variety of different majors and minors are offered, along with countless artistic groups to inspire the freedom of self-expression to not only students of those majors, but also to everyone across campus. This first impression is one of the many reasons I fell in love with the college. A student has to take at least one class in the arts to graduate, but (other than people with arts majors and minors) that course will most likely be the last and least enjoyable class they take in their college careers. Luckily, I think Plattsburgh has constructed many exciting courses and clubs that make any “uncreative” students engaged in whatever they decide to indulge themselves in. When I talk to some of my new friends here, and the people I meet every day, I’m always surprised and a little saddened to hear them say, “Oh, I’m undecided,” when asked what their major is. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being undeclared. But the thought of so many bright and capable students on campus still searching for their passion makes me realize something important about life. Not everyone found the answer to their kindergarten question before starting college, and I’m just one of the lucky few.

Nevertheless, whether you have found the life choice that makes you the happiest, are still looking for where your life might take you, or don’t even know what you’re having for breakfast tomorrow morning, it’s important to keep in mind that maybe a tiny push in the directions of the Myers Fine Arts Building, Yokum or Ward Hall will be the right step for you.

Email Emma Vallelunga at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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