When I think about my future, it seems so abstract. It’s as though my life will never materialize the way I plan it. Still I always envision myself ten years from now: well-established in a career, be it as a hot shot D.A., surgical intern or even the President of the United States. The common thread in all these dreams is that I absolutely love what I’m doing. Maybe that’s my personal goal in life: to find a job that I love.
Unfortunately, I feel like society is telling us that this rarely happens. It seems universally accepted that work sucks and one can never be happy doing his or her job. Only the late Steve Irwin, comedians like Dane Cook and some professional athletes have managed to make a living out of doing the things they love. Does this mean that those of us who don’t like catching crocodiles, can’t crack a joke and aren’t seven feet tall are doomed to a ‘nine to five’ job that we hate?
Do you remember being a little kid when adults asked what we wanted to be when we grew up? We used to answer with things like astronaut, baseball player, famous author, inventor, etc. As we got older, our answers changed to occupations we thought more practical, more socially acceptable or more easily attainable. But did our dreams really change? Inside we all still have dreams of what we’d like to do or become, even if we know that we can’t achieve them. Coming to college was a sobering (well, not entirely sobering) experience because I felt like all the hopes I’d carried since childhood were completely forgotten. I’m instead expected to pursue academics that will lead me to a top-notch career, but not necessarily my dreams.
I think eventually we need to think practically about what we’re looking for in life. As sad as it sounds, many things we want are not feasible and will not happen for us, but that does not mean we have to completely give up on them. At the same time, don’t be afraid to make some sacrifices if you are serious about achieving your goals.
In high school, I had a friend who decided to apply to MIT as a junior. Then in April, when she was accepted, she suddenly realized that she’d be graduating in a month, never getting to experience senior year. As it turned out her family had booked a vacation for the weekend of graduation, never expecting that their sixteen-year-old daughter would be receiving a high school diploma. So my friend missed her senior year and her graduation ceremony. While I was sitting through that same commencement, all I could think about was everything she had missed out on (because God knows I wasn’t listening to our valedictorian drone on about his successes). Now looking back on the situation, I think my friend did an honorable thing by sacrificing all that to pursue doing what she loves.
As students at a liberal arts college, we all have the opportunities and an environment most conducive to finding out what things we love. There are plenty of programs and events in all varieties of interests that we can try out. Our somewhat frustrating CORE and distribution requirements actually do serve a good purpose: they ensure that we try a hand at everything before we commit to one field. Hopefully that trial can prevent us from graduating with a degree we don’t care about and subsequently finding a job we hate. Even more hopefully, it will help us find out what we love, so we’ll be one of those lucky few who don’t loath the work week.
So the moral of my rant is to get everyone out doing the things they love, and not just because of the clich?ed ‘life’s too short’ attitude. We’ve all heard that before, and while it is true, what extra motivation is needed to get you to go out and participate in things you enjoy? It’s still September and the school year is young. Join a sport, add a club, try actually reading the material for your classes, go out and try new things. See what you like, and then start doing what you love.