Why did you decide to follow the path you’re on right now? Are you sure it was the right decision? As college students, these are scary questions. The truth is, we don’t really know if we did the right thing. We’re spending countless hours studying, pulling all-nighters and writing essays with pages in the double digits, all based on a decision we made about our future when we were 18 years old. College almost encourages us to feel stressed about the choices we’ve made.
I sat down for a conversation with one of my friends from West Chester University because I know she thinks about this a lot as well. “Sometimes I catch myself comparing myself to my peers. I feel like I’ve chosen the wrong path when I’m sitting in class, looking around and thinking, ‘Why am I even here when everyone else is so much smarter and more prepared than I am?’ If everyone else is so much better at this than me, why should I even bother?”
We’re always wondering how things would have gone if we would have chosen something else, especially when we see our friends, so confident in the steps they are taking. If we actually talk to each other, though, we’ll find that we all feel the same. Comparing ourselves to each other can’t help because we are all on the same page when it comes down to it. None of us are sure that we’re actually doing the right thing because all of us were thrown into college and making grown-up decisions so quickly.
Comparing ourselves to each other can’t help because we are all on the same page when it comes down to it. None of us are sure that we’re actually doing the right thing because all of us were thrown into college and making grown-up decisions so quickly.
“It’s unrealistic,” my friend says. “John Green said that we don’t just do one thing with our lives.” Although, that is how college makes it seem. “We are going to do tons of different things in our lifetimes.”
Our lives are not meant to be defined by the technical decisions we made in or before college. Finding your path doesn’t come from one definitive decision. The important outcomes are from how we choose to live our lives and who we choose to live them with. The major we’ve chosen or the internships we apply for or the job opportunities we miss won’t dictate how happy we are in the end. We need to realize that, as my friend says, “In the end, there is no such thing as the wrong path. I think that there are different paths, but I don’t believe any of them are necessarily wrong.”
Even if you find out later that you should have made a different decision in your college career, you won’t be stuck in a dead-end. “A friend of mine always says it doesn’t matter what your degree is in, as long as you have one, it’s a step up.” Although our culture and all the work we’re doing and all the pressure makes us feel it, what we’re doing here doesn’t have to be permanent.
We need to remember that we’re making attempts to give ourselves a good future, and that’s what matters. It matters more that we want a good future and less what technical steps we’re taking to get there. “If you graduate with a major you love, awesome. If you graduate with a major you hate, that’s okay too.” We’ll be okay in the end. Or, as my friend says, “Global warming is going to kill us all anyway. Or the coronavirus, whichever comes first.”
Hannah Barras, third-year communications major and journalism minor. HB888984@wcupa.edu