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Four Years at the Mount

Junior year

The only constant is change

Leeanne Leary
Class of 2017

(11/2015) It is October 21, 2015 Ė the day I anxiously anticipated 10 years ago while watching Back to the Future for the first time. 4:13 pm has come and gone and Marty McFly has (unfortunately) not shown up anywhere in the world, but I do get to do some mental time travelling of my own.

Four years ago today, I was a junior in high school and I can almost guarantee I was sitting in the journalism room, room 201, staring at a computer screen, adjusting a yearbook layout. If I wasnít there, I was just finishing up field hockey practice near the end of my favorite season as my favorite coach was preparing to leave for another school.

In some ways, I thought everything I was doing was preparing me for my future. I wanted to be the editor of a big time magazine and I wanted to play and coach field hockey. Therefore, I spent copious amounts of hours in room 201 at my personal computer, roaming around with my camera, and sitting around our discussion table in editing meetings trying to create the perfect yearbook and finally get some recognition in the yearbook world.

Later that year when we attended our conferences, I wanted to be in a place where I was ready to take over for senior year and get into a school with a stellar graphic design and journalism program. I was also preparing for a future in field hockey with all the best coaches and off-season programs.

Iím here to say now, all of those dreams peaked during that year. Realizations of the changing media world and injury upon injury led me away from both dreams and I spent the next few years with no solid career goal. But as a 17 year old, I was sure knew what I wanted.

Now I am an almost 21-year-old English Lit and Secondary Ed major, preparing for a career as an Army officer, anxiously planning trips to Haiti, and I really love fitness. I am not at all where I thought I would be Ė my passions, goals, and even my daily activities are entirely different. I still play field hockey and love media and journalism, but I donít do either to the extent I used to dream about.

Sometimes I wonder if I would be as happy if I had stuck with the same dreams, and because I still am very unsure if my future, I often think I would be. It takes some time, but I always realize that simply because my passions and goals have changed, does not take away any importance of old goals nor does it diminish the fire behind the new ones. I am blessed to have had things in my life that I have felt so much passion for over the years, and I wouldnít be surprised if they continue to change to fit my life in the upcoming years.

I truly miss intense field hockey games, nine hour designing sessions, constantly being behind a camera, and getting a layout just right; but as much as I miss this, I love everything I do now. I love waking up in the mornings for PT, as much as I may complain about it, I love the feeling of a new PR in the gym, traveling and working in places I never saw myself before, forming relationships with kids who inspire me more than anything, discussions about a text or an issue, and having time to grow and explore everything around me.

So a lot has changed and the idea that it will continue to change is, I must admit, pretty scary. Now I have to consider my life four years from today. To this, I laugh Ė I donít have a clue. It might be the state of my nervousness, but I feel like Iíve been asked to write about my future quite a few times recently. Maybe I should take that as a sign and figure it out, but instead Iím still kind of laughing at the idea of myself in four years, because I could be anywhere.

In about five months Iíll make the decision whether I want to go Active Duty or National Guard. Five months. Does everyone realize how soon that is? Because I certainly didnít until about five minutes ago when I looked at the date again. I will make that decision, and the rest of my life will be determined from that single choice. If I choose Active Duty, I will be a full time Army Officer in four years. Iíll most likely be a first lieutenant, but I have no clue where in the world Iíll physically be. If I choose Guard, well you got me there Ė imagine my nervous laughter once more Ė I have no idea. Iíll have a degree allowing me to be a high school teacher, but Iím leaning more towards the missionary field. So it will be as much of a surprise to me as it is to you when I finally make that decision.

I joke about the nervous laughter and the fear I have about my future because it is all just a little terrifying, but if the next four years go anything like the last four, Iím sure it will turn out okay in the end. I have learned that goals change, passions develop, and relationships can alter your views, but as long as I love what Iím doing, I will be happy and I can only hope that I will always have the common sense and strength to value what I love and put it at the center of my life. If I do that I am certain that the latter half of this eight-year span will go as well as the former.

Read other articles by Leeanne Leary