Following your own compass

Let me begin by getting this straight: four year universities are fantastic, and I have nothing but respect for the people around me who are going down that path. However, I feel the need to shine a light on the dark corner of the fact that they are not the right choice for every single person, despite what guidance counselors everywhere will insist.

As June fast approaches, it’s important to recognize that the path that the majority of people will choose may not be the one that leads to where you, in your heart, want to end up. Some people will stay here in Saint Peters for their whole lives, and that’s okay. Some people will venture off to a university in a faraway state, and that’s okay. Some may go to a career-based school for a couple years, then enter the professional world, and that’s okay. Some may never go to school again, and guess what: that’s okay too.

Yes, I realize that these last few statements are enough to make teachers’, counselors’, and principals’ heads explode. At the same time, I feel that it’s necessary to get these conflicting ideas out into the world, because I cannot be the only person to hate the idea of going to a four year school. Personally, if I went to a university, I know I would never get through those four years. I’m antsy to be done with schooling and begin working as a professional. School is not my forte. I do not thrive on structure and never have.

That being said, I am also sort of a strange exception to the rule of having to have a degree for the profession I desire. For most careers, a degree is imperative. However, there are tons of career paths that require other types of training or even no training at all. For example: culinary artists, musicians, some writers, dancers, mechanics, electricians, carpenters– the list goes on and on.

Yet, society incessantly tells us that these types of plans are less “noble” or “unrealistic.” Is that the truth? Is it such a sin to simply know what one wants to do and to take the most direct route in order to do so?

Perhaps I’m the crazy one, and maybe my opinion is biased due to the fact that I fall into that category. I am pursuing a highly “unrealistic” career in hopes of becoming a working actor. That’s my own dream, my own pursuit. Who is society to tell me, or you, or anyone else, that we can’t do what we truly want?

My point in all of this is simple. I want it to be known–not simply plastered on a wall as a quote from an author you’ve most likely never heard of–that just because all signs in a road are pointing in one direction does not mean they are adequate for every destination. Choose your own way, and pursue it wholeheartedly. Remember that no matter what it is pulling your heart in the opposite direction of the others around you, it’s okay sometimes not to be a part of the status quo.