Rome Wasn't Built in a Day, Neither are You
Dear Ms. Marist,
I'm a second-semester Junior in college, and I feel like my whole college career has been to satisfy my parents' expectations. I want to do what I love but I don't know what that is yet. What do I do?
Dear Dicey Deliberator,
I just want to start off this with a (maybe clichéd, but very true) reminder (they’re clichés for a reason, right?) that you are not alone in feeling this way. Talking about our own uncertainties is hard, and I think it’s pretty common to ignore our feelings sometimes because it can be so darn scary to not know where we’re headed. I’m proud of you for asking yourself these hard questions, and you should be, too. Keep asking yourself how you feel, and the right answers will come to you. If it helps you to write things down, feel free to put a big, fat, colorful check mark next to step one: being honest with yourself.
Step two also requires some honesty, but this time with your parents. Do they know you’ve been struggling with these decisions? Are they open to the idea of you changing your path, whether it be immediately or in the near future? And here’s maybe the more important question to be asking: Do you need their permission to try new things? These aren’t simple questions with and “right” answers, per se, but they are answerable. And once you’ve gotten to the bottom of your options for right now, you can check off step two with another big fat check mark.
Step three is my favorite part of the process because it involves getting experimental. Deliberator. How many clubs have you thought about joining but didn’t because they didn’t fit into the path you’d had planned? Do you need that second minor? Will not taking that last class keep you from getting a job after graduation? It’s definitely worth asking. I can’t wait for you to check step three off your list, and try new things, and maybe hate them, and maybe LOVING them, and maybe find them mildly interesting, but trying them nonetheless.
Allow me to digress for just a minute, here, and I promise it all ties in…
I decided to choose Marist College because of the Marist Italy program. I decided on the Marist Italy program because I spoke Italian for six years in high school. I decided to study six years of it in high school because my Mom – whom I love, and who loves me – loved Italy. And it wasn’t until I’d been waiting two and a half years to get to Italy, and finally arrived, that I realized I was making my choices for someone else. And what an expensive choice to make! Like I said, you are not alone. But because I enrolled in some obscure classes while I was there (like Mythology, yikes), I was able to find my true path: in writing, and in music.
My final thought for you, deliberator: It’s important to remember that discovering ourselves takes time. Our whole lives, even. Did you know that the average American changes careers seven times in their lives? Seven?! Concluding advice from Ms. Marist straight to you, deliberator: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and thank goodness for it. The most incredible things in life take time. The best we can do is mark some big, fat checks on a list and try our hardest to listen to ourselves, in the hopes that we come closer to our personal definitions of happiness.
Sincerely, Ms. Marist