Many Paths

Posted May 18th, 2009 by Amanda Abel and filed in Issue 5: Future Plans
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me eating an NYC donut in my NYC outfit in March of 2005This is a supremely hard post for me to write and I doubt that anyone is doing it easily.

For the last 4-5 years, I’ve been trying to figure out what was most important to me. Five years ago, I felt that I might have the desire to go to grad school. I’ve always been torn by which creative path to take and how the process of making my creative pursuits into viable money-making endeavors could affect the creative urge. My three loves are these: writing, singing, and photographing.

Since I was in high school, I’ve been trying to figure out which one was most important to me, and have mostly ended up cycling between all of them. So I applied to school for creative writing, got accepted to NYU, and flew to New York to decide if it was the right move for me (photo is of me eating an NYC doughnut in my NYC outfit then).

Steph and I were talking yesterday about how we make important decisions, and she said that usually when she makes what people on the outside think are rash decisions, they are actually the result of much much internal thought and consideration, and only seem to happen suddenly. Five years ago, I sat in a classroom in NYC and I listened to an amazing class with an sharp professor surrounded by other poets, and as much as I got out of that class, it didn’t feel right. Then I went and listened to one of my favorite poets read just down the road and that, too, didn’t feel right. It didn’t seem like my future.

I am now at the end of two years of grad school, $30K in debt, and supposedly closer to knowing what I’m doing. What I do know is that I want to do work that is valuable and helpful to other people. So in five years, I hope to be doing something that helps others in some capacity.

My work as a documentarian began because I think understanding and being exposed to other people is a very important component in human compassion. And this compassion is necessary for any kind of progress. As much as I think it would be nice to be debt-free, and living in my own home in five years, the most important thing to me is to use my talents to promote understanding among other people. If I can help that process along in some way, and be surrounded by people I care about at the same time, that’s all I can really ask for.

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