I am at a point where I question everything. This past semester I’ve had some crazy thoughts pass through my head. Anything from dropping out of school and being a missionary to joining the army. Heck, moving to Canada and just living in the mountains sounds good to me. For some reason, I just feel trapped here and that I need to be doing something more, something bigger than this pattern of living. I’ve settled into the culture of the norm. After taking a step back, I’m starting to wonder what I’m doing. I don’t want to be like everyone else.
I feel like the majority here is chasing the “American dream.” Your typical life that entails going to college, pursing a degree, finding your “special someone” while in school, graduating, getting married and starting a family. But then, the real world kicks in. You have bills to pay, life to stress about, a job that you’re stuck with and whether or not you like it you need it because you have debt to pay. It can lead into a selfish and depressed life. There’s no wonder why over 18% of U.S. Americans 18 and older are struggling with anxiety and depression disorders. In the midst of this “American dream” something is lost and that is meaning. What is the point to it all? What are we pursing and what are our motives? When I talk with my friends here, I like to try and see what it is that drives them. Why are they here? What are they hoping to accomplish?
There’s a good amount of people here who are getting a degree just to get a degree. I find that many people aren’t passionate about what they’re studying. In fact, I hear many people complaining about what they’re studying but they’re doing it for the same reason as everyone else: to meet expectations. It is expected that everyone gets a degree. It is expected that everyone finishes college and then goes out into the workforce and gets a job to make a lot of money. How did we get to this point? Since when did wealth become our motive? Why am I here? Culture and expectations are literally controlling my life. If it wasn’t expected for me to be in school, if I didn’t feel this pressure to be here would I? That’s a question I’m not sure I can answer yet.
Why am I in school? I think it’s not a bad question to ask ourselves. Now I’m not trying to say that school is a bad thing. It’s a great and necessary thing, but I do believe that if we are doing it simply because our culture tells us that we need to, then we are missing the point. There needs to be passion behind what we are doing. We are only given one life to live and to waste it pursuing nothing more than success measured by how much money is being made is completely missing the point.
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter”-Francis Chan.
Think about it. What are you hoping to accomplish? Are you going to settle for just an ordinary life when you were made to be extraordinary. There is not one person out there who is exactly like you and only you are capable of the life that you are living. For the year an a half that I’ve been studying at this university, I have learned more about myself than I ever even knew was possible. This is such a unique time in my life and I am trying to live it up and soak in every minute of it. Life as we know it is said to be short, so if you’re in school and pursuing a degree, it’s important to take a step back and think about what your are hoping to accomplish. Are you passionate about what you’re studying?
My biggest fear for my own life is that I am going to get my degree and then be stuck with a job that I am not passionate about and then end up hating what I am doing. This semester has been full of ups and downs and the questioning of life. It’s thrilling, yet repetitive. The cycle never ends in my head. Some days I feel like I’m doing it right. Like when I get a perfect score on my exam. There are other days where I feel convicted. I feel like I’m living selfishly here. I feel like I need to be doing more with my time than pursue a selfish life. I have the privilege of knowing who Jesus is, why the heck am I not going out and sharing the good news with every person around me?
I know that I have a passion for God and that’s what I want to be sharing with people. Is a degree in communication going to help me with that? I like to think it will, but it’s still something I’m questioning. Right now I feel as though being here is holding me back. So, given where I’m at right now, I feel like I am just about ready for my semester abroad. It’s going to be a great way to get out, see the world, indulge in a new culture and all the other typical cliches you hear about people who have gone out and explored this earth. Blah Blah Blah. I can hear all about it, but experiencing it will be completely different. I’m hungry for something new. I’m hungry to gain a new perspective on things. Right now, I need nothing more than to be expanding my mind and to stop questioning what I’m doing and start doing. The fact that I’ve had so much time on my hands to question things has held me back from actually doing them. So getting out for a while will be a good thing for me. Who knows where I’ll be when I get back. Maybe I’ll be a better person, maybe not. I don’t have any idea what to expect. But maybe having no idea what to expect is a good thing. Maybe expectations only hold us back.