My middle daughter leaves this weekend to head back to school for her senior year. She’s so ready. She misses her friends, her studies, and her routine. She wants what we all want–for life to return to normal. Of course, normal is very relative these days, and her final year in college will not resemble anything she has come to know as normal. Still, she’s excited to embark on this transitional journey of senior year.
I remember my senior year of college. I was so certain of what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to work at the National Archives, doing research, writing papers, and recording and preserving history. That desire came about gradually over the course of my four years. I had gone to college determined to be the next Peggy Noonan, writing memorable, quotable speeches for future presidents. My love of history won out over my love of politics, and I began seeking graduate programs in historical preservation. When I moved home after graduation, with no money in the bank, I took a job at our local library, hoping to put away enough money to pay for my next degree. I had been accepted into both George Washington and American Universities, and neither was inexpensive. In a move that evidently surprised nobody who knew me, after spending a summer working in our local library, I ended up going to library school instead. Isn’t it funny how a simple summer job can change the course of one’s course?
My story is not unique.
Many, if not most college students, change their minds over the course of their studies and choose different paths than the ones they originally set upon. My daughter is no different. Katie applied to college as a history major, but by the time she left for school, she was an education major. A year later, she was studying nutrition, then she settled on communication and theater which she has maintained for more than a year. But what next? She is still trying to figure that out.
Over the summer, Katie was asked to become the website manager and social media marketer for a lovely local Italian import shop. She ended up doing so much more than working on a computer. She helped with stocking and inventory. She worked the register. She became a taste tester and learned so much about Italian foods and wines. She fell in love with the store, her fellow employees, and the idea of bridging the gap between the two countries for the many patrons who wandered into the shop. All of this got her thinking about how much she loves to travel and how she might like to use her communication degree while working in the travel industry. Again, isn’t it funny how a simple summer job can change the course of one’s course?
The truth is, it wasn’t simply my job in the library or Katie’s job at the shop that made the difference. It was the people we met, the things we learned, and the possibilities they presented to us that truly opened our eyes and our minds to our futures.
I think that’s one reason this pandemic has been so hard for everyone. We are living in such small bubbles right now. We aren’t able to meet new people, go new places, see new things, or gain new experiences. I’ve heard so many say that their creativity has plummeted. So many are lonely and depressed. So many are afraid and uncertain. I look at Katie and think, how lucky you are to have had this opportunity! I pray that it leads her into a career that she loves. Because that’s what matters–that we do something we love.
I’ve been writing my entire life. It has never felt like a chore to me. When I sit down at my desk and begin to tell a story, I feel myself truly fulfilling my purpose, doing what I was meant to be doing. I’m not sure many people feel that way every day when they go to work, but I think it’s so important that we all get to experience that.
Life is too short and very unpredictable. Haven’t we all seen that these past few months? Perhaps this is a time to really think about your life, reflect on where you are, what you’re doing, and where you want to be. What is God calling you to do? What is your purpose? What will make you feel happy and fulfilled?
As things begin to open, let your heart and mind be open as well. What is your passion? Are you seeking that passion? Are you doing something that makes you love getting up in the morning? Do you feel like you’re setting the world on fire? If not, what do you need to do to make that happen? Once you figure that out, you’re on your way to being the person God meant you to be.
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019).