Let me preface this by saying that this is an analysis and a catharsis, and, as such, may jump around. I'd also like to apologize for the despondent tone. Try to stick with me here.
College is a time for young adults to examine themselves to figure out where they fit best in society and what they will be doing for a large part of their lives. What you do in college will define you; you are literally setting the tone for your life. It's scary that I am making decisions that will affect the rest of my life considering I have a hard time deciding between which flavor of ramen I want for dinner. I am not mature enough to be making these decisions yet, I'm not even 19. Why do I have to make these huge decisions now? I haven't had enough time to figure out who I am, much less who I want to be.
For the second time in my life, I am completely lost. I don't know what is more important to me: money or happiness. I don't know what my calling is. I don't know if I am going down the right path or not. I just don't know. When someone asks, "Where do you see yourself in the next 5, 10, 20 years?" I can't respond. I can see myself doing a multitude of things. Starting an aerospace design firm and making bank; following my passion of marine biology and conservation and living a modest life; going into politics to try to make a difference in the world; pursuing a career in writing. There are so many options and college has taught me, so far, that I can choose one. That's not fair. I have only experienced a minute fraction of what life has to offer and now I'm being told I have to choose based off of that experience. What about that makes sense? The only way to fix this problem is to go out and actually experience all life has to offer, and that sounds great. Too bad you can't do that.
In today's society, we don't have room for that type of self-exploration. Instead, you go to college, get a degree, get a job, and then you go to work. You do this because in today's society, that is what is expected of you. You have to work to fulfill a needed role and to support yourself financially. All of this just to be secure. But does the end result justify what is given up? How much potential are we sacrificing to maintain normality? What if everyone could pursue their dreams? What if everyone had time to find out who they really are and where they really need to be? Would we all be better off?
The answer, I believe, is no. No one aspires to be a garbageman. No one aspires to work at a fast-food restaurant or grocery store. No one aspires to be a janitor. Nevertheless, we need these jobs. If everyone could pursue their dreams, who would be left for these lackluster but important roles? That is the reality of the situation, life isn't fair, and that sucks. Why let that stop you, though?
Maybe there is a place in society for dreamers. Maybe people need to forgo the safety of their chains. After all, would we have sent a man to the moon if we didn't have someone dream of being there? Not everyone can be a dreamer, but without dreamers our society cannot progress. Only you can decide which category you fit in to, but you need to experience life to figure that out. This brings me back to my original point. We are rushed into deciding based off of our limited experiences. This is the dilemma. Do we accept our roles and live content yet not completely satisfied lives, or do we take a risk in dreaming?
I guess that question is what separates the average from the extraordinary. Fly with the flock or soar like an eagle? Both are needed, but figuring out where you belong isn't easy.
I, for one, am absolutely terrified that I am going to look back years from now and realize I made the wrong choice. Like I said, I'm in college, I don't know what's best for me. Who am I to judge that when I don't even know who I am? Figuring out who I am is the keystone to the arch that is my life, and without it all the other blocks will merely collapse into rubble. I need time to carve the stone that fits just right, but time is a precious commodity that I just don't have enough of.
So as I sit here typing this my mind is a battleground. One side has a relentless thirst to risk it all to pursue a dream while the other side has a steadfast defense built upon a safe, yet somehow not fully satisfying future. Where one attacks, a defense stops it, and where a defense is formed, the offense finds a hole.
I'm left here hoping that something, anything will happen to give one side the advantage it needs to win.
Maybe one of you reading this understand and are dealing with your own dilemma. And if you have read all of this, I commend you. This isn't the typical lighthearted Storieshouse article, but it is one I felt needed to be published. Thank you, and please know that I will be back with a lighter article next week.