Opinion: A driven senior with no clear path


Gabby Seed BW

Gabby Seed

To college seniors, impending graduation has the potential to feel like either a light at the end of the tunnel or a dark expanse of confusion.

As a senior by credits but a junior by year, I haven’t yet decided when I will graduate. I am an English major with minors in political science and theatre performance. Translation: I’m a mess. To me, the idea of graduation is a bit closer to the “dark expanse” metaphor than the “light at the end of the tunnel” metaphor. I’m not alone in this feeling.

Lately, I have found myself fitting nicely among a group of seniors and juniors that is highly driven, but lacking in clear direction. I keep my grades up, I’m involved in clubs and leadership — I even have an upcoming internship.

But this amalgamation of activities has almost no centrality, no direction and no real core. The things I do on a daily basis range from a cappella and writing to political activism and working at a rock wall. Many of my friends are in the same boat. And while it is certainly never boring, there is deep-seated frustration that comes with wanting to go in many directions.

My roommate Kelly and I often talk about how we can see ourselves as surgeons, as writers, as public speakers or producers.

I joke that the only things I’ve really ruled out are calculus and painting. It’s a lofty way to feel, and a nice thought that “the world is my oyster.” But most upperclassmen I know and talk to want nothing more than a definitive sense of purpose.

A huge, almost crushing obstacle arrives when you find yourself drawn to two or more careers or areas of study. I battle with myself almost daily on the decision between creativity and academia.

As a theatre minor, a singer and a lover of comedy, there is almost an entirely separate person that sits dormant inside me while I am focused on the more academic and structured subjects of political science and English. I’ve heard friends explain the “letting go” of this other person, a process that involves coming to terms with the fact that this person may remain dormant from here on out.

While this may be logical and sensible to some, I reject it completely. It makes me cringe to think about shutting down entire versions of myself.

I don’t believe any upperclassman — no matter how much they struggle in directing their futures — should be forced to hack away at essential parts of their being. For many seniors, graduation is approaching quickly. And it may be tempting to pick a path that presents itself to them and race down it.

However, I argue that authenticity is far more admirable.

Follow a path — or don’t — but make it one that you, and you alone, have chosen.

Gabby Seed is a columnist, contact her at [email protected].