Today is the last day of school.
Although today is a day for some well-deserved celebration, it's also a day that warrants reflection — another year has passed us all by. Here are a couple of questions you might want to ask yourself before you crack open that first beer.
1. When was the last time you slowed down for a minute?
Sometimes, I feel like here at UB (and probably at every other college), everyone is way too concerned about career paths and five-year plans and what job they are going to get when they graduate and how much money they are going to make. Do all those plans and goals make you happy or stress you out? If you fail to achieve them, will that be a huge catastrophe?
I think those people need to live a little more in the here and now. Planning ahead is great, but too much of it only sets you up for disappointment. I have no idea what I'm going to do when I get out of school, and that feels kind of liberating. Heck, I don't even know how this column is going to finish yet.
So slow down a little. If you're worried that you still don't know what you want to do, look at it this way — I'm glad I'm not already pigeonholed into a predetermined profession for the rest of my life. Be glad you made it to today, and try to enjoy it a little. Which brings me to my next question.
2. Are you enjoying your classes? Are you genuinely interested in what you're learning in your major? If you are, great. Keep going; you're on the right track.
If you're not, then think about the next 50 years of your life and whether they will be happy or miserable. Did you choose your major solely because of job availability or potential salary? In my humble opinion, that's the wrong way to go about it.
Study something you enjoy, regardless of what some adviser told you about the job market. I used to be ashamed to say that I'm an English major, because people would inevitably ask me what I planned to do with the degree and what the use of it was. I never used to be able to give a good answer, but after thinking hard about it for a long time, I realized why I study what I study.
I tell people now that I'm studying English because it's not one of the many majors at UB that require memorizing the same facts and formulas as everybody else and attempting to come up with the same answer as everybody else on the same test that everybody else took. I come up with my own answers and reach my own conclusions.
That's not a knock against the people in those majors. If you're one of them, the world needs people like you. Just make sure you actually want to be one of those people. If you're not, don't be ashamed of your major if you're doing something you enjoy, and don't let some dork in a suit and tie belittle you for it.
If you don't know what you enjoy yet, I'm sure you'll find out soon, which conveniently leads into my last question.
3. What have you learned about yourself this year?
This is the most important question of them all. Though I've hated school at times, the thing I've loved about college is that I've learned an incredible amount about myself — light years more than I've learned in my classes. And I'll bet that's the most crucial information you can learn in college.
Speaking of classes, they're over now. So get out of here! See you in the fall — if you're lucky.