Multiple times this week, while trudging along familiar paths to class, I caught myself imagining whether a pilot from the vantage point of a helicopter zipping across a grey skyline might ever look down at Kent State’s campus and find that the winding, clay-red and white concrete slabs resemble “spaces” on a game board. I’m almost certain my imagination entertained this idea because I have taken a few too many trips via Google Earth. Regardless, this comparison of my college life to a game board says something about how bleakly critical I can be of my choice to willingly participate in the academic world.
I find pleasure in the intellectual community and in executing successful academic work, but if you are anything like me, your scholastic goals and creative ideas contradict one another, leaving you feeling restless and unfulfilled. If you can relate, this goes out to you.
Entering the first semester of 2014 with a healthy appreciation for your skills and passions, whether each of them is actualized to your satisfaction or not, is important. Nurturing the parts of yourself that the academic world cannot nurture is important to feeling content with your decisions to split your energy between two very different lifestyles.
By reminding ourselves that the lives of creative, scientific and mathematical geniuses contain as many hours in the day as ours do, and that 20-somethings don’t always know what they want to do, we can think positively. College life offers us endless stimuli that ask us to challenge and weigh our wants and desires. It’s healthy to feel conflicted because it helps you analyze the factors that are pulling you in different directions.
Remember that you don’t have to feel pressure choosing between a creative or academic lifestyle. Take a lesson from a few talented people who chose the best of both worlds and incorporated both elements into their post-grad careers:
The late Jim Morrison graduated from UCLA Berkeley in the summer of 1965 with a degree in film and later formed “The Doors,” which would go on to top history’s rock ‘n’ roll charts and inspire subculture youth for years to come.
The great musician, singer and songwriter Lou Reed, who passed away in late October 2013, graduated with honors from Syracuse University of Arts and Science with bachelor’s degree in March 1964.
Fiction Writer Stephen King graduated in June 1970 from University of Maine with a degree in English. His books have since been the source of multiple movies and have sold more than 350 million copies.
Famous actress Meryl Streep earned her drama degree from Vassar College in 1971 and went on to earn her M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama.
Dream child of the pop art movement, Andy Warhol, graduated from Carnegie Mellon in June 1949 and went on to have a successful career as an artist, filmmaker and eccentric New York City businessman.
This semester, stay true to yourself and make this year memorable. Even if we are all in a waiting line to graduate, why not prosper from the wait by allowing our creative passions to intermingle with our academic goals? College is as much about finding out what you don’t want to do as finding out what you do want to do.