“Hello, I’m a two-time college dropout.”

Upon meeting me, there are a few things that you will typically learn: I am 23-years-old, I am a military wife with no children, I am from a one-horse town named Royston, Georgia, and I am a college student.

Still in college? Haven’t you been in college for over four years?

Yes. Five years to be exact.

When I graduated high school, I wanted to do something fun with my life. With what seemed like an endless amount of possibilities in front of me, I decided to study Speech Communications at Valdosta State University so that I could one day become an event planner. Fun right? Sure. But after a year of school, I realized that I had ZERO passion for event planning.

So, I dropped out.

With my newfound time, I took up cooking. After months of being fascinated by various recipes and cooking techniques, I decided that owning a restaurant was surely what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. This time I enrolled at Athens Technical College in the Marketing Management program. I was determined to be a restaurant owner. I wrote business plan after business plan to make sure that my restaurant would be the best there was. A year after I started the program, I began to lose the passion I once had.

So, I dropped out.

I began to get confused and frustrated. I was 19. Shouldn’t I know by now what my passion is? I felt like I was wasting my time, and the ridicule for being a two-time college dropout ensued. Most of my high school graduating class was already halfway through a degree, and I was back at square one. Why me? I’d ask. Why can’t I find my passion?

 This time I took a year off from college. Sure, I got tons of questions about why I wasn’t in school, but I made a conscious decision to focus on me for a year, and that’s what I did. I traveled. I camped. I started cooking again. I got engaged. I found my passion.

 That year was one of the best years of my life.

In January of 2013, I enrolled at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College in the Early Childhood Care and Education program. During my year off I volunteered at an elementary school, and I realized that working with children was my absolute passion. When I began the Early Childhood program, I sighed a sigh of relief. This was it. This is what I am meant to do.

Enrolling at Wiregrass has been one of the best decisions that I have made. I have now been enrolled at Wiregrass for over a year, and I haven’t looked back. Yes, it took me four years to realize what I wanted to do with my future, but that’s okay! Am I saying that everyone should take a year off from school? No. But know that it’s okay not to follow the path that is set before you. Know that your future is yours, and you shouldn’t be afraid to make your own rules and decisions. Know that even though it may seem like you are the only one that doesn’t have it all figured out, you are not alone.

So, discover your own path. Write your own story. Find your own passion.

Your future will thank you for it.