Thursday, January 31, 2008

The unpaved future meets the parents

christinel posted an interesting comment on my previous entry -- I read through her comment a couple times because in many ways, she sounds a lot like me when I was 15 years old. Granted, I'm still only 17 -- but I've come a long, long way since my days of driver's education and knee-high socks with UGG boots. This comment has been provoking my mind so much that it is currently almost 2am and I cannot go to bed until I reach a conclusion.

I had my first private college counseling session at school today -- my daddy was present, and we talked a lot about my prospective college choices as an English and Art History major. I learned a lot and created a list of fantastic colleges that I will most likely be applying to, but that hasn't left an impact in my mind as much as when my college counselor and I were discussing my extracurriculars. I told her all about my cheerleading experience, dedicated volunteer work, leadership positions as cheer captain and as multiple club chairs, Spanish Honor Society status -- but mostly I just emphasized my work in fashion.

My college counselor's response to my comment about being president/co-founder of my school's fashion club?
"I won't put that down. Colleges won't take it seriously."
How about to my independent study course (for credit) in fashion history?
"Colleges won't take that seriously. They'll discard it."

I'm puzzled by the time all of my extracurriculars are jotted down on paper -- I take fashion history very seriously as an academic subject (after all, it's related to art history) and a club is a club, right? I emphasized to my college counselor my involvement in fashion journalism as my positions as both a writer and editor of multiple independent fashion publications and websites, as well as my internship with Seventeen for the summer.

I realized just how hard it is to be taken seriously as an academic scholar and a fashionista at the same time. I want to study art history and English and revel in the great classics of civilization, while sporting a Miu Miu headband. I want to solve the toughest problems facing our world today -- and attend Paris Fashion Week. Is this possible? I wholeheartedly believe so.

My parents are traditional Chinese immigrant parents -- they hold very educated jobs that pay well and allow me to attain the future that I want. They try to support me, but I can tell that they wish that I would choose a different career path. Two weeks ago, my daddy tells me that I would have a better chance of getting into college if I conducted scientific research in a laboratory over the summer -- but is that me? After college counseling today, he tells me that I should stay in Silicon Valley and become director of marketing for a high-tech firm -- but once again, this isn't me.

I'm the girl who adores tiaras and tutus and too much adornment and gorgeous photography and fashion week and writing and inspiring others and everything else that represents pure beauty and fantasy. I cannot deny who I am -- and being the stubborn girl that I am, I must follow my dreams.

Mommy sighed at me today and said, "You have a knack for doing exceptionally well at things no one else would dare to try. I suppose I can't stop you -- because I have a feeling that you may succeed and prove us all wrong."

I wish this piece of writing would convey to you how much fashion and writing and academia and so many other things mean to me. Since I was 15, I have not spent a day without the assurance that fashion is where my future lies. It's been a long journey of pulling all-nighters since I've finally attained my first magazine internship with Seventeen, but I can't stop myself from the rush and pure joy I've been experiencing lately.

Ah, if only I had some clever witty way to end my thoughts before bed. christinel and everyone else who might have shared the same thoughts, thank you for admiring me -- although I am only 17 and barely older than any of you (if not younger), and I do not deserve to be admired for any reason.

I wish I could look ten years into the future and see myself as the new editor-in-chief of a major fashion magazine and tell you that yes, it was all worth it and that I've worked out the equation to fashion industry success. But no, I'm only 17, and I am also toiling along, trying to make a name for myself while enjoying the uncertainties ahead of me.

My college counselor chuckled when I said I wanted to be editor-in-chief of a large fashion magazine. "I always get one or two of them every year," she said.

No, I thought, this isn't some teenage fantasy that grew out of a obsession with The Devil Wears Prada. I don't see why it's not as plausible as becoming a doctor or a lawyer -- in my mind, passion is logical. Now if you'll excuse, me, I only have three more hours before school begins.

ex.oh.ex.oh
Miss Couturable

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