Why I Stopped Needing A Plan

To be perfectly honest, I never pictured a break from school to be in my plans. From the time I was thirteen, I knew what I wanted to do once I was out of high school. I was so excited about being old enough to start my future, I began researching fashion careers as early as middle school. I believed that if I could exhaust every single idea about where and what I needed to be doing than I would get exactly where I wanted to be when I wanted to be there. I was dead wrong. The thing about having a plan for yourself is that sometimes(most of the time), life has a plan of its own. And usually said plan is completely different than what you had in mind. I was a senior in high school when I finally grasped why I needed to let go of having that perfect plan. When the time came, my applications were sent out while my acceptances(and some rejects) were sent back. One of those acceptances was Parsons; my dream school. As a young girl, I had read and studied books like “Secrets of Stylists” by Sasha Morrison and “The Teen Vogue Handbook: An Insider’s Guide to Careers in Fashion” and they both had mentioned this magical and prestigious place. From then on, my mind was set; I would be going to Parsons. With two weeks left to send in my decision, I was given the news that is hard for any parent to deliver; as a family we would not to afford it. I was heartbroken, upset, and confused. I was confused as to how I could have worked so hard, planned, and prepared for this only to be let down because of a circumstance that was beyond my control. I finished off senior year not having any clue where I was going or what I was going to do. Either way, I made the decision to pack up my belongings and head back to New York to live with my dad. I needed a change and a “fresh start”. Once I got there, I enrolled in a nearby community college so I could transfer the next fall semester and not fall behind. Despite moving forward, I was ashamed when I shouldn’t have been. The most difficult thing for me at times can be how I look to other people. I was embarrassed to admit that after working so hard I would be attending community college and for a while I wouldn’t even admit it to my closest friends. Looking back, they most likely were not the ones disappointed in me. It was me being disappointed in myself. I thought I had failed myself. My biggest fear is not becoming who I’m meant to be. I was paralyzed by the fear that my career was over before it even started; all because of not being able to afford Parsons. I went on and did my year at community college. And I’m no longer upset that I went. I’m thankful I did. I learned a lot about myself, met someone that made my year that much more meaningful, strengthened friendships, and met an amazing english professor that believed in me and my ability to be who I want to be. But I still had a plan. There was always a plan. Once again, I worked for good grades all in the hopes of transferring out. Just like before, acceptances and rejects were sent back to me. The only problem with this time around was there was no school I was accepted to that I was excited for. So again, I was conflicted and I was confused because I thought for sure this time would work out. I picked schools that with the right financial aid I could afford and ones that were within my major. However, none seemed like the right fit. It wasn’t until a mentor and close friend of mine said to me, “Do not settle. You’re settling. And I do not want to see you work so hard just to settle.” And he was right; I couldn’t settle. I had become so obsessed with the idea of getting out of community college and having that whole college experience that I failed to take into regard what opportunities I had NOW. I had put so much pressure on myself to get to the next step at all times that I never stopped for a minute to celebrate myself or the small successes I was getting. So of course I felt stuck and unhappy. This semester, I would be going into my sophomore year of college but I have decided to take a year long break. A break that at first I was not pumped about. Now, I’m working for a nonprofit that assists with kids who need their own academic and post high school support. Although it may have nothing to do with where I want my career to be, I know that it’s going to teach me something valuable about myself. I also am working with a local handbag designer whom I consider a friend and colleague. Her belief in me and my ability to work in design are what get me through my self doubt. The opportunities she has given me are ones I will forever be thankful for. And thanks to her, I no longer feel stuck. I know for the first time in my entire life I’m looking forward to trusting the process and what the future holds even if I don’t like it. So if you’re reading this and you’re like me, afraid to let go of your plan, know that you are not alone. I struggle everyday trying to let go of the things that are no longer in my control. I’ve learned that the hardest person on myself is…myself. The greatest part of this whole experience, is that I’m also the happiest I have ever been. And I believe I owe it to just learning to let go…

Thank you for reading! I hope looking back, we all get the best version of any plan we ever imagined for ourselves. xoxo




  1. Beautifully expressed and written Haley. I’m even more proud of you, but mostly, I am impressed and inspired by you. I went through something similar, but after college. Going through another similar experience now. Dream big!

    • Thank you Aunt Beth! Those words mean a lot to me. I hope you’re doing well 🙂

    • Thanks girl! I talked to your mom and she said you’re in Italy this year! I hope you have a blast 🙂

  2. Wow… why did I feel like I was reading about myself as I read this. I’m going through almost the exact same thing. Honestly, it’s hard to celebrate yourself and appreciate where you are when you so wholeheartedly feel like you are not where you were supposed to be. This felt like a breath of fresh air to read. Thank you. I feel inspired.

    • I’m so glad you related! Yes, it is soooo hard to feel as if you are not doing enough. I hope things work out for you. Enjoy the ride and thank you for you comment. It made my day. 🙂

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