Here's a short story that I wrote for my creative writing class. It's very loosely based off of the true story of how I came to change majors, including a very bad parody of what seems to be everyone's favorite tv show.
Annie Watkins was three things: a Business major, a “General Ward” fanatic, and hopelessly lost. Her life was like the neverending red circle of Netflix that was being displayed on her laptop screen, a buffer with no end in sight. Other windows were open, the blinking word processor document with a word count of zero in one and an unfinished art piece on Photoshop in the other, but she couldn’t look away from the swirling black and red.
“Wow, you’re really working on your paper,” a voice drawled out from the other side of the room. Annie’s dull haze broke, tinges of pink now showing through her brown skin.
“Leave me alone,” she replied.
“Isn’t it due tomorrow?” Sigh. Annie’s head fell against the pillow, and even though her eyes were trained on the screen, her mind wandered. Ray, her roommate, wasn’t lost. Her long blonde hair with pink streaks was constantly in a messy bun, her unmade bed was only ever frequented on brief moments of respite like this one, and her brick Nokia cell phone constantly rang its shrill ringtone, yet Ray’s smile grew wider as each day passed. Annie would smile at herself in the mirror sometimes, but where Ray’s was warm and blinding, hers was cold and unnoticeable. A pale version of Ray’s beaming yellow.
“Don’t hurt yourself by thinking so hard.” There was that yellow again, outshining Annie. She didn’t bother looking in Ray’s direction before she threw back her reply.
“I’m thinking about which textbook to use for my paper.”
“You mean those $200 paperweights you have over there?”
Annie’s pile of business textbooks sat on her mahogany desk, dust collecting on the plastic wraps. They were, in fact, currently being used as paperweights, holding down her sketches. The curve of the self-portrait she’d been working on brought a twinkle to her eye, until she turned back to her screen and saw the all-too familiar red circle. She followed the movement, her eyes going around for a maximum of five seconds before she groaned loudly and sat straight up on her bed.
“I give up. I’ll write the stu—” A male’s voice broke through Annie’s resignation speech and her head swiveled to her laptop, eyes wide. For one brief second everything was still, until the moving image of Harrison, the doctor on her screen, finally registered in her brain and she fumbled around for her headphones, relaxing into the familiarity of her favorite tv show.
Annie let her limbs sink into the memory foam mattress pad while her brain melded with the current happenings of the fictional Denver Metropolitan Hospital. It had been 89 days, 6 hours, and 32 minutes since the latest season ended, and 88 days ago Annie had started her annual rewatch. During the day she was resigned to walking the halls of the business center, theories and models being tossed around in a game didn’t even attempt to participate in, but at night she was a second-year resident, struggling to save the lives of others while still figuring out her own. Once she opened her laptop and clicked play, she was Rebecca Blair.
“Never talk to me like that in front of the others again,” Rebecca said on the screen. This scene was Annie’s favorite, where Rebecca stood up for herself and reminded her on-again/off-again love interest that she was born to be a doctor.
“You still have growing to —”
“I don’t need you to tell me how to grow.”
Annie didn’t realize she had been mouthing along until she heard laughter, which wasn’t coming from Rebecca or Harrison, disrupting her happiness. A quick finger of acknowledgment to her roommate and she was back, enthralled in a speech she could recite while half-asleep. “I’m going to fail, but then I’ll get right back up because this is what I’m meant to be doing.”
Rebecca was everything Annie wasn’t. She was white with a short black bob; Annie was black with an afro too wide for her University. Rebecca was confident and determined and when Annie watched “The General Ward”, she got to pretend that she was as well. The only thing they shared was their parent’s obsession with dictating their life choices, although Rebecca was lucky that her parent’s ideas for her future seemed to align with her own.
“I won’t let you or anyone make me doubt my place here again,” Rebecca’s speech on screen continued. “I am a doctor not to fill a quota, or because my father was one. I’m a doctor because it’s where I belong.”
Annie’s hands slammed into the spacebar, stopping the episode before it continued to the part where Rebecca and Harrison had yet another impromptu makeout session. The words that Annie had just heard moved around in her brain as she processed them for what felt like the first time. Somehow that scene, which she had watched over 20 times before, now felt different. Maybe it was the fact that she’d only gotten 6 hours of sleep in the past two days. Maybe it was the three page paper she still had to write for a class she hated. Maybe it was everything, all at once. Those words made her think about where she belonged and what she wanted to do, and she realized very quickly that it didn’t involve Business.
“I have to change my major,” Annie said. The still of Rebecca Blair sunk into the blackness of her computer screen, but Annie merely shut the laptop and turned to face her roommate. “What are you talking about?” One of Ray’s earphones dangled out of her ear as she furrowed her eyebrows towards Annie. Annie just smiled, the grin growing until she was laughing. It was a weird laugh, one that spoke of fear and uncertainty, but also one that spoke of freedom and relief. She looked at her bedside table once more, the contrast of the textbooks and her drawings smiling up at her, as if they couldn’t believe it took her this long to figure out such a well-known secret. She opened her laptop back up again, unsure of what to say but now very sure of what to do, and started drafting an email.