From the moment an infant bursts into the light of the world they are told they have opportunity. As they become more aware of their surroundings and begin to develop they are told, “You can be whatever you want when you grow up.” A child’s mind takes a statement like that and runs with it. When you’re five or six, it doesn’t matter who you are; if you want to be an astronaut, you’ll be the best one that ever was! Then you grow up, you’re 18 years old, and all dreams come to a screeching halt as reality pushes through your once wild imagination forcing you to become a rational adult.
College is depicted as this four-year portal you go through that blasts you into adulthood and defines your fate for the rest of your life. Alright, that makes it sound more frightening than it is – but it is completely terrifying knowing that you’re four years away from ‘the real world!’ Those childish dreams of being an astronaut or a movie star wither away. The protocol for career searching goes from “What will make you happiest?” to “What will get you out of debt the fastest?” I came to West Chester University as a pre-business marketing major. Don’t get me wrong; business is important for the greater well-being of America and is fiscally responsible. But the more people asked me why I was pursuing a business degree, I realized I was just shouting a superfluous version of “It’s my safest bet!” in their faces.
The reality is, if you want to be happy, playing it safe won’t get you there. It would be a lot simpler and safer for me to sit through four years of business classes and enter a seemingly endless ocean of jobs. I had to think about what I wanted to be waking up to in ten years, and business just wasn’t it. Journalism and writing have always been my favorite passion, but other people’s opinions temporarily got in the way. Entering college you’re going to have a lot of negative opinions thrown at you and it will seem like nobody really likes what they do for a living. Journalism is competitive and if you’re not hungry enough you’ll get left aside to starve. The same goes for other careers that depend mainly on your talent. I, however, find this doubt motivating. People will tell you, “That’s a hard field,” but you must come back at them confidently with, “Yes it is.”
It is never too late to ask yourself if you chose what you’re doing because you want to, or because you believe it’s what you’re supposed to do. Close off your ears from all those negative and threatening opinions and ask yourself the real important question, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” and your problems work themselves out. If it will make you happy, all struggles and leaps you need to take will be worth it, because no one ever got very far by tiptoeing.
Emily Szpak is a student who can be reached at ES845161@wcupa.edu.