The last few days have been full of a mix of emotions. From excitement at RU orientation, to sadness, to doubt, second-guessing and confusion…I was a mess. I couldn’t quite pin-point why, but I just could not get myself together. My mom pointed out that I was over-working myself and booking a session EVERY DAY for the entire summer…and I didn’t even notice I was doing it. I just absolutely love what I do, and I wanted to work as much as I could. But, after some thinking, I realized exactly why I was doing it. I was leaving. I knew, that after August 22nd, I would no longer be booking sessions. I knew I would be leaving my entire business behind. Everything that I have worked so hard for in the past year and a half would come to a complete halt. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that I could find new clients and a new market in Radford, but it would be starting from scratch. While, I know I could make this work, I would not be getting the “college experience”. While all of my friends would spend their free time partying and enjoying college, I would be in my dorm room working and trying to re-build my entire business. While my roommate was going out for the weekend, I would be making the 8 hour round-trip home to shoot a wedding. While I was supposed to be studying, I would be stressing about the editing that was being put on the back-burner, because that is where I want my focus to be. This is why I have decided not to attend Radford.
This decision has easily been the hardest (and most stressful) decision that I have ever made, but I feel so much peace and happiness now that I have made it. I woke up sobbing yesterday morning and I shared my thoughts with my parents, best friend and boyfriend. After a slight mental breakdown, I headed out to a senior session, having absolutely no idea what I would come home to. I didn’t know if everyone would think I was crazy, or if my parents would be disappointed, or if my boyfriend (who was planning to attend Radford with me) would be angry. But, after my session, I walked into a house full of people who were prepared to support me 100% with whatever decision I made. My mom and my best friend, Stephany, both told me that they saw this decision coming, even when I had no idea. My boyfriend, after being in complete shock, told me that he would be with me wherever I was and support me in whatever I did. After telling him that I didn’t feel like HIS heart was in it either, his response was “It wasn’t, because my heart isn’t in Radford, it’s in you. Wherever you go, I will too and whatever you do, I will be by your side”. I immediately felt a wave of relief come over me, and my decision had already been made.
Most people attend a university to find who they are and what they want to do, but I already know. My dream has always been to own a business and be a successful photographer, and that is exactly what I have been working so hard for. I cannot imagine not doing what I love. If I had chosen to attend Radford, and not been able to continue my photography business, I would have been lost and miserable. When I am behind my camera, I am in my element. There is no where else I would rather be.
While I will be staying in Fredericksburg to continue my business, I still value the importance of a college degree, and I will be taking classes at our community college this fall before transferring to Mary Washington to pursue my business degree. However, I will be able to follow my dream and continue doing what I love with an amazing group of people by my side.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Photos courtesy of The Photography Smiths