In the midst of a bunch of awesome blogs this week about major college realizations (see here, here, and here), I find myself feeling a bit out of step. Not necessarily that it’s a bad thing; after all, everyone is on their own path, not only here, but in life, yada yada yada.
Still, it has felt a bit daunting lately to be on my “path”, especially considering how unsure I am about what exactly I’m moving towards. To a certain degree, I’ve internalized that special tenet that has been passed down from advisors and parents to college freshmen for centuries now: You aren’t expected to have everything figured out. While this may be true of the other humans that surround me, I am the one person who is excluded from such age-old words of wisdom. I expect myself to have everything figured out.
It’s like I fall down this weird rabbit hole of sorts, as I look around and think that everyone else knows exactly what they’re doing. One thing leads to another, and suddenly, I’m comparing myself to freshman neuroscience majors who are doing research in labs with grad students. I think to myself, “What am I doing? Why am I not doing research? What career am I preparing for right now? How far behind am I?” and quickly locate the nearest source of comfort food in the hopes of munching my sorrows away.
Typing this out makes me feel sort of ridiculous, considering that I’m a Writing Seminars major with absolutely zero intention of going into neuroscience, let alone “science”. My idea of research has much less to do with lab coats and petri dishes and more to do with, well, writing. And literature. And traveling amidst all of that writing and literature. And who knows what else. Obviously, these are extremely broad ideas, but I think they’re enough to illustrate my preferred distance from the world of safety-goggle-adorned academia.
Regardless, I have this recent tendency to let flickers of doubt develop into stretches of nerve wracking uncertainty. But to what end? What’s the point of this self-induced pressure, besides the solo comfort food parties and Portlandia marathons that inevitably ensue?
I’ve realized, perhaps later than I should have, that despite my various uncertainties about “the path” (bringin’ it back), I am certain about several important things:
1. I’m coming to terms with not knowing for now. I’d like to explore more of my interests here at Hopkins before I even begin to talk about another major or minor of some sort. ((stay tuned))
2. There are multiple definitions for “research” and “lab”, especially here at Hopkins. Case in point.
3. If I had the choice, I would never take another science or math class ever again, in the remaining years of my existence on this earth. But since I must satisfy those credits, I’d like to give a quick shoutout to Hopkins for not having a strict core curriculum for me to adhere to. Thank you!!!!!
4. I love to write. The love began when I got my first diary, a pink and red heart-shaped spiral notebook in which I recorded my daily shenanigans, multiplication tables, and fiery elementary school crushes from ages seven to eleven. Ten years, plenty of notebooks, and two college Writing Intensives later, I know I could never stop writing for the sake of future guarantees.
These affirmations may not be the sweeping resolutions that typify old movie endings, but they’re my first steps away from erroneous comparison and self-doubt, from the moments of anxious freshman desire to have it all planned. I’m going my way.