Where are you going?

October 27th, 2011

Freshman orientation was an uncomfortable time for us all. Unless you came with someone from your high school, you were all alone in a new and overwhelming place, unsure of how to get around or how to be a college student. The default friend-making question to ask was, “What is your major?”

Whether we had an answer or not the ice was broken and we were given hope for our collegiate future. We were already beginning to make friends and we’d have plenty of time to figure out what our path in life will be.

Times have changed. We’ve all made friends and found our niche in college. One thing seems to have remained a constant point of interest, though: What are we going to do for a living? Some of us still have an answer, maybe the same one we had at orientation.

If you’re a freshman or even a sophomore, it’s cool to still be discovering what you want out of life. However, for many frantic upperclassmen like myself the path to a successful and happy future has become less illuminated than the campus sidewalks.

I have gotten used to the heckling from everyone, accounting to psychology majors, about how, as a philosophy major, I won’t have a job. If there is anyone that is alright with living outside, it’s me.

If I don’t feeling like taking any ridicule on a particular day, my standard response to any career question is that I’m going to law school. “Philosophy majors do well on the LSAT,” I say. That usually provokes a contented response from the inquisitor, showing they approve of my potential career and lifestyle. Has the status and approval from others that comes with a prospective career become one of the major factors in choosing a focus of study?

As I’ve said before, we should dedicate our lives to things we are passionate about. More often than not our parents, teachers or the whole of society do not deem our passions practical. All the acceptable passions are thrown together in a university to which we are shipped.

For many people I know, including myself, our majors are not exactly things we most enjoy but instead there is simply nothing else we’d rather do out of the available options.

This place of higher education we attend is supposed to help prepare us for a better future. Most of the people that surround and influence us limit that to a career. Despite all the career focused information I’ve personally been fed, the most truthful bit of advice was that which was give to me by a wise nonagenarian: “College doesn’t teach you how to do anything. But it does put you in a better position to learn.”

As my college years pass, I find myself to be more and more unsure of where I am going and what I want to do. I know I am not alone. But, if my 94-year-old friend was correct, then that does not necessarily put me at a disadvantage. In fact, I am reaping college for all it has to offer. Those like me also share the sentiment that we have grown as people. Perhaps our focus doesn’t need to be as precise as some tell us. Though we may not be enjoying our classes very much or doing particularly well at them, being able to learn and adapt with whatever changes or opportunities come our way could be just as useful as learning how to manipulate the human genome or play the stock market. We simply have to make the most out of whatever we’re given