I used to get annoyed when people asked me “where do you want to go to college?” or “what do you want to major in?”
“Why not ask me about what I want to do with my life?” I’d lament. “That’s the question I want to answer. That’s the answer I know.”
Now, that’s the question people are asking me. And I am just as tired of and confused by that question as I was by the questions asked me in my last year of high school.
Figuring out what my passion and purpose is in life has been an issue I’ve struggled with for years now. I’ve wanted to be everything, from a storm chaser to a veterinarian to a professional musician to a music therapist to an animator to an artist to a business woman. And here, for a good few years, is where I have settled myself. A good spiel for the adults, a good message for everyone, a good job for me. It was a winner for every audience, and that made me happy. But what I’ve realized from meeting so many people who are using their college experience to learn about things that they actually love instead of barreling through classes they think they need is that I need to take a step back and look at what I want, what I love, what I’m given, and how all those factors work together.
What do I want?
I want to make a difference. Now I don’t mean to be vague–well, actually, yes I do. I mean to be as vague as possible because what I want is solely to make a difference. It can be for a mass amount of people, it could be for a single person, it could be for myself alone. Regardless, what I want is a life spent with the people I love, serving God and pleasing myself with the work I do. I want to be excited to go to work everyday. I want to be creative. I want to be exceptional. I want to be the best at whatever my craft ends up being, and if that means inventing said craft, then so be it.
What do I love?
This is also somewhat of a loaded question. I like a lot of things: I like this blog. I like animals. I like food. I like comedy. I like to sit outside in the fall and read books that don’t make sense. The list continues. But what do I love? I love my family. I love my friends and boyfriend. I love my college, and I love my alma mater. I love to learn new words I’ve never heard or seen before. I love to sing, I love to act, I love to write, I love to read. I love new music. I love to give the perfect gift. I love to create. I love to listen to people talk about the things and people they love. I love starting something, finishing something, and being able to say I made it happen. I love being significant to someone.
What am I given?
I am given a community of peers and mentors with whom I can test my ideas and share my emotions. I am given a university that allows for and encourages me to explore my passions and skills, and supports me in full as I decide for myself what my path should be. I am given a loving family, precious friends, professors who listen and advisors who comfort. I am given leadership, I am given responsibility, I am given opportunity. I am given time to develop myself into an educated woman and I am given the determination to do so. I am given the skill of deliberation and the gift of listening. I am given a challenge, almost everywhere I turn. I am also, however, given the guts to face those challenges head-on.
I started writing this blog post two days before Donald Trump became our president elect. I didn’t feel it appropriate to post something completely unrelated to the election just a day after, but even a week after the fact I would feel like I was avoiding the subject not to mention it. Being a minority millennial, I’m obviously upset. But something that I have discussed with my peers and professors is that I am somehow incredibly motivated by this new challenge. I am in the perfect position to use the next four years as a means of intensive education, activism, and personal development, in a context completely different than if the election outcome had been something else. Students my age have the ultimate opportunity–not only to gain new perspectives, but also to develop the things we believe to be personal truths worth defending.
I’m in the process of changing my major right now, and I have mixed emotions. My ego hurts a bit, as some people will interpret it as an inability to go through with business school. But in the fashion of not doing what other people want me to do (one of this blog’s mantras), I’ve decided to step back and look at what I want, what I love, and what I’m given. I want to make a difference, I love my community and my ambition, and I am given the chance to fight for all of it.
So: what do I want to do with my life?
It was a good question then, and it’s a good question now. But I’m trying my best now not to answer that question just yet. I’m done pretending I have everything figured out. The only thing I want to do with my life right now is live it. The rest will follow.
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