Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Well, go then!"

Yesterday my Dad mentioned that college is unnecessary for some because the professions they will enter do not require in-depth skills and knowledge. An example of such a job is selling computer software and equipment, which my brother DJ does during his time off from college. He is the youngest in his office; many of his counterparts have families, and make a lot of money. Obviously financial success in such a job comes through practice, determination, and a good personality, not a college education, even though everyone besides my bro has one. Dad also said that many people go to college just because that is what they are "supposed to do."

What does this have to do with me? I told my Dad that though I have benefited immensely from my year and a half in college, I sometimes wish that I could just go somewhere and live. You know what he told me? In his typically-detached way, he said, "Well, go." I told him that I knew he was just trying to placate me, that he did not actually mean to encourage me to lose my scholarships and "just go." When he says such things I get frustrated because the paradox of my life impedes me from getting up and physically going somewhere. On one hand, I have opportunities up the wazoo: scholarships, open doors, etc., but there are also expectations of me, (admittedly some are self-imposed) like that I need to get my degree, do internships and other concrete experiences that will confirm my character and desirability. On the other hand, I read travel journals like "In Patagonia," by Bruce Chatwin, and deep within me I also want to embark on a wild journey to encounter new ways of living, remarkable places, and beautiful people. Similarly, when I'm in African dance class or Zumba, I dream of wandering - disturbing no one, as if I were an angel traveling- through African villages and participating in tribal dances that don't stop just because the hour is over. So what are my options? I will be in South America until mid-May, and after I have a great opportunity to study/intern with Greenpeace, with one big downside that I would have to pay at least $4,700 for the 2.5 month term/internship, which includes a trip abroad to work on an environmental campaign, training, housing, etc. It's definitely a great opportunity for me to learn how to enact change on campus, but the cost is high. I could stay in South America for two and half more months, which would probably cost at least $1,500. Sometimes it's difficult for me to make up my mind. How does one weigh pluses and minuses, and then be satisfied with the outcome? I suppose all I can do is try as hard as I can to imagine which I will be happier doing....any suggestions?

~Lauren

3 comments:

Adam Brunelle said...

I think it is imperative that you enjoy yourself with whatever you do.

I often find myself in a similar circumstance. As I sit here at my desk in my office in Washington, D.C., I wonder what it would be like to just live life.

To meet people. To dance the night away. To lose track of time.

The best thing to do is embrace circumstances and work toward the greatest goal of all: smiling more than you usually do. Because all we can really hope for is to be happy with what we do.

South America must be fantastic.
In one sense, because I'm assuming it couldn't go any other way. But in another, because it MUST be that way for you. Don't sit around wishing you could be doing A or B, but instead, act like time doesn't exist and experience everything you can.

I'm throwing away my "plans" in life in favor of living it instead.

Catherine Harpe said...

I don't know how this happened but I completely agree with Adam...

p.s. your writing is fantastic dear!

Anonymous said...

Your dad sounds like a wise and wonderful person.

Signed,

Your dad.