A year ago, I made a couple huge decisions. I decided that my life was not meant to be mediocre. At that point, I had been working at H&R Block for 8 months. I was 16, going to a public high school, working 30+ hours a week AND attempting to start a photography business.
February last year, I quit my minimum wage job at H&R Block, went to a giant photography conference (WPPI) and I applied to a private arts boarding school for my senior year of high school.
At the time, I was afraid. I walked into my bosses office and cried. I sent that application and prayed that I could get a scholarship to cover the $52,000 tuition.
I knew at 16 that my life wasn't meant to be a slave to an $8 an hour job. I am truly thankful to have been given the opportunity because it taught me a lot about business and self-discipline. I am more thankful I got out when I knew it was time.
A week after that, I went to WPPI and met people who have become friends that support and challenge me (Sarah, Tim, Dave, Kristen, & more). I came home from that 5 day conference and invested time and money into making my business what I wanted it to be.
Remember that school I applied to? Well, I got in. Plus I got a decent ($46,000) scholarship. Summer 2011, I worked. my. butt. off. I shot something like 8 weddings and 20 portrait sessions last summer. It became clear what I want to do with my life. I wanted to become a wedding photographer.
One of my favorite questions to ask my friends is "what is your dream job?". Most respond "I want to be a _____, but it's too hard/ competitive/ risky." Then I say "go for it, friend. Life is too precious not to follow your wild dreams. If anyone is going to become the next big opera singer/ NFL star/ event planner, I believe it could be you (with a little hard work and hustle of course)."
A year later, I can't imagine not being exactly where I am. I am afraid of the life I would be living if I hadn't gone for it.
Go for it, friend.