The summer before my junior year in high school, I was at the crossroads where many teenagers my age found themselves — what was I going to do with the rest of my life when I graduated. the history buff in me wanted to be an archaeologist, but my Dad said I needed to do something that would actually pay me money. I stumbled across architecture while searching the internet, and it sounded like a good fit. Architects needed to be creative, problem-solving individuals who had artistic skills to sketch ideas for homes and buildings. I loved art, I had been taking art classes for ten years, and I had always been interested in design and the architecture of homes.
So, I prayed.
My faith is a huge part of my life, and I believe that God has a specific plan for my life that I continually seek and try to follow. I felt and believed that God was leading me in this direction, so I followed it. My art teacher taught me how to do perspective drawings, and I began taking classes when I graduated that aligned with what I would need to enter the degree program. Auburn University is the only college in Alabama that has a degree in architecture, so I applied. I was accepted into the program and began preparing to move and begin classes. Little did I know what I was really getting myself into.
Transfer students had to begin in the summer workshop which was an intense five-week course that lasted 7 hours a day, five days a week at the end of which students were evaluated and either allowed into the next course or dropped from the program. We were given an assignment each day to be finished by the following day and a larger project over the weekend that had to be finished by Monday. This meant that we had to stay till midnight each night to finish the work because everything had to be done in studio, and I hated having to stay so late. The professors were also brutal. None of the work I did was good enough for them, and they even used my work as an example of what not to do. I had always been a straight A student, and this devastated me. I worked my butt off doing the best I could, and it still wasn't enough.
I quickly succumbed to the stress this was causing me. I couldn't sleep or eat, and I was emotionally on edge and would cry at the drop of a hat, which anyone who knows me knows that that was highly unusual for me. The weekend project broke me. I received an unsatisfactory grade and had to meet with the professors to discuss it. I called my Dad squalling, and it was decided that my parents would come down that evening to decide whether I should quit the program. We decided that it would probably be best if I did, again after much prayer, and I dropped out the next day. I had only lasted a week.
Even though I believed that I had made the right decision, I still felt like a failure, and I became stuck in my despair. My Mother was afraid to leave me alone, not that I would have done anything rash, but she was concerned for my well being. I had felt so sure I was doing the right thing, and it now seemed all for nothing. I felt like I had failed God and others and was ashamed to face people at home.
But, through all this, I learned a few things. The people that love you just want you to be OK. I received nothing but love and support from my family, friends, and church family when I came home. One must be careful to not let one's plans overtake the Lord's plans. In that meeting with those professors, they had suggested that I look into the environmental design program. This made me think back to a moment when I had initially wanted to go into this field but had decided on architecture instead. I eventually realized that I had been listening to what I wanted and not what God wanted and had rejected His plan for me. Failure is not turning around and going in the right direction. Failure would have been to stay where I was.
If I had stayed in the architecture program, I would have been going against God's will for my life and not living up to my potential. I did end up making the switch, and I am now a senior at Auburn. I have found something that I love and have not regretted my decision. I would never go back and repeat the experience, but I do not regret the lessons it has taught me or the growth in my relationship with God it caused.