“You do not play a sonata in order to reach the final chord, and if the meanings of things were simply in ends, composers would write nothing but finales.” – Alan Watts.
Since the beginning of high school, I had a four-year plan. I was diligent in choosing classes and extracurriculars to boost me above my peers and help me get into the university of my choice. My whole life I was told of the importance of public education and how without it life would be challenging. School, for me, has never been very difficult, but more or less a chore that lasted sixteen years. However, my journey turned out a little backward.
I attended an early college program, graduated early, attended a private university on a full-ride, dropped out of college, was forced back into college, and arrived at UNCW with a 4.0 GPA and a very cynical view of public education. The plan I had for my future was torn to shreds, and I had no clue what I wanted to do. My major had gone from Wildlife Rehabilitation to Business to Film and finally ended with Communication Studies. So, if you are anything like me my time within higher education has had its ups and downs, but Communication Studies provided some positivity within my two years here at UNCW. It helped me learn not only about the world/people around me but also about myself.
Here is what I learned:
- First off, do not let fear dictate your life. Overthinking is destructive and can lead to missed opportunities. Take a clue from Steve-O: count to three and just do it.
- Try not to think so far ahead, I know it sounds cliché to say, but…live in the present. If you spend so much time thinking about the future, you will find yourself looking back on the past wishing for something to change; which is just as toxic to your mental health as is assuming what will happen in the future.
- Surround yourself with people who challenge your perspective and if you don’t know something don’t pretend you do. Confidence is essential but be careful not to let your ego take control.
- FIND A HOBBY. It helps keep you sane and helps build new skills. When I dropped out of school, I explored many new outlets. I started to read more and research subjects outside of the normal curriculum. I was happily pursuing my own educational purposes, and it allowed me to obtain a job that I actually enjoyed.
At the end of the day try to realize that 99% of people have no clue what is going on. You don’t have to pursue something if you don’t want to and you definitely don’t have to follow a path that’s already laid out for you. Try to be realistic with yourself as well, not everyone will end up extremely successful, but find something you enjoy and pursue that passion. When I reflect on my years chasing a degree, I realize that I wasted a lot of time seeking approval over an assignment that was probably read over once and thrown away. I was afraid to do something else because I was unsure of what the outcome would be. I settled for my education, while I should have been chasing something worth living for.
– Christian Lombardi