By Judith Signal
I’ve been on a path here at TCNJ to have a career in law, which was always the plan. But recently some strange things have been happening to me, and I think they might be signs that I should do something else with my life, some kind of higher calling. I’ve never been very religious exactly, but now I’m conflicted. Should I stick to the plan or follow my gut?
– Distorted Plans
Dear Distorted Plans,
I think there’s something incredibly exciting and deeply terrifying about having plans for your life. Let’s examine your plan, shall we? You have come to the College to pursue a career in law. Seems simple enough. I don’t know anything about your background or how you feel about the legal field, but it’s clear now that, regardless, you are having trouble accepting that this could very well be the career you are attached to for life.
First, know that your anxiety is totally valid. As young adults, we are often forced to jump into a life that we are not entirely sure of. College is about exploring that path and figuring out if the light at the end is where you want to be for the rest of your life. I think it’s clear, Distorted, that you may not be suited to continue down this path.
And that is completely OK! Do you know how many people feel that way at this school? A very small population of students actually have cemented their life paths. After all, college is about the exploration you are able to do. Take advantages of opportunities. Slowly, but surely, you will begin to form an identity that you will be proud of.
Now, this is not to say that you are definitely not cut out for law school. You very well may be. But it’s so important that you listen to that feeling inside that is telling you that maybe it’s time to pursue something else.
I think the best course of action is to, as always, breathe. Remember that you are not alone. You do not need to have your entire future planned out for you tomorrow, regardless of what people may tell you. If you’re a senior and already super committed, keep in mind that most people today don’t stay in the same careers for more than four or five years. There’s more to life than “this or that” — there’s always “this and that.” Who says you can’t have it all, Distorted? I say you can.
Regardless of your religion (or if you even believe in a higher being), it is very natural to feel like you are meant to be doing something greater. So many of us go through that “holy shit, am I actually doing what I’m supposed to be doing with my life?” moment during our college career. Again, it’s natural.
I know it seems like the future is fast approaching and you need to make a brash decision, but I guarantee that is the worst possible course of action. Slow down. Breathe. Listen to your gut. Explore. Take chances. And remember that you can always come back to your initial path.
After all, that’s what college is truly about. You have the rest of your life to be boring and serious.