Make It Lucky

Emma Barge

I get choked up at the gym when I watch The Voice and they cut to the shot where the proud family cheers and cries for the singer on the stage. My friends always make fun of me (as they should) but there’s a reason why I do it, and I’m sure there are others of you that do the same. I’ve been through a lot in my four years at Colgate that make me this sentimental. My parents’ divorce has lasted from freshmen year until this one, I met and lost a great love and I struggled to find the class where I could be the smartest student in the room (or even get close). I’ve been 3,000 miles away from home for four years. I haven’t had Thanksgiving with my immediate family since I was a senior in high school. That was in 2009 (yikes).

Through that turbulence, one thing was always constant. Life went on. And a big part of life – the part that none of us will ever escape – is the part where we have to provide for ourselves. We have to write the paper, make the presentation, turn in the project and make sure that we position ourselves for success both now and in the future. We all just have to push through. And I would hope that in those moments when all we can do to escape our personal turmoil is bury ourselves in work, we will be able to find a place for ourselves where that work is a joy and not a burden.

That might sound a like an oxymoron so allow me to explain myself. The spring semester of my junior year was a particularly trying one for me. I carried a weight around almost every day that made it hard even to enjoy the hint of those sunny summer days that crept in right before finals. I ran back to California and didn’t look back, not even on the fonder memories. What was my saving grace? My summer internship. Back in November of my junior year I was contemplating potential career paths. When I came here, I thought I wanted to be an International Relations major, study international law, go to law school and become an attorney. I thought that my interest in history and the Constitution would provide enough inspiration to carry me through a lifetime in a courtroom. But with only a couple of young, careless summers left, I thought to myself instead: How would I spend everyday of my summer if I could live in a fantasy? The answer: I want to be at AT&T Park watching baseball games. I applied to an internship at Comcast SportsNet, the dominant sports broadcast network in the San Francisco Bay Area that is responsible for media coverage of not only the Giants but also the A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders, Sharks, Sacramento Kings and LA Kings on top of all their original on-air and online content. So, in some of the most emotionally draining months of my life, I got to spend every day doing what I love. I was in the stadium with a press pass that could get me anywhere. It was a certain sort of heaven for me and, at the risk of sounding dramatic, it saved me in that time of need.

So for those of you who are first-years and sophomores sitting in your dorm room and thinking about what you want to do for the rest of your life, try this: look at your bookmarked tabs on your computer, go on Buzzfeed and see what section you gravitate towards, check out your Hulu, Netflix or Xfinity account and take stock of your most watched shows. Are they sports-related? Intern at ESPN. Food-related? Be a food scientist or a recipe tester or launch a startup that produces sustainable, healthy fruit juices. If you can’t get enough of Million Dollar Listing, get your real estate license and actually go into those amazing New York apartments. Don’t just watch and gawk. Make people gawk at you and your amazing job and your ability to thrive while also providing for yourself. Find out what you love and then find a job that brings you to that place every day. At the end of the day this might seem obvious, but so many Colgate students seem to have trouble breaking out of this idea that your job options are limited to doctor, lawyer, banker or scientist. I encourage you to immerse yourself fully in your academic studies while you have all of these amazing resources at your fingertips. We are all so lucky and privileged to be here and I will never belittle that fortune. But after you enjoy yourself here, I challenge you to be imaginative and to think beyond your Colgate education. Look into yourself to find the happy place and make it your job. After all, just when we think we’ve seen the hard times already, we encounter something even harder that we’ll have to overcome as adults. So, while you have to go on providing for yourself in those difficult times ahead, you might as well enjoy it. Cheers to you, Colgate, and to more lucky years ahead.

Contact Emma Barge at [email protected].