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ISSUE 120 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 3/23/2007

A digression in careers

By Executive Editors
Executive Editor


Friday, March 23, 2007

I spent the weekend reliving my youth. Yes, I know that sounds strange, but even at our age we can do this. I accomplished this ironic task by surrounding myself with some of my former passions and reflectimg on how sweet they were, and perhaps still are.

It began with a fortunate Netflix decision, as all good things really do. This fortunate event involved my P.O. Box, a Nirvana how-they-recorded-Nevermind documentary, my television and my couch. As I saw the now-saintly Kurt Cobain thrash about on stage with that awesome haircut and those torn-up blue jeans, I found myself softly saying aloud: “Oh man, I remember this. Grunge was so awesome,” like the 14-year-old pre-pubescent boy I had once been. I mean, seriously, why did grunge ever go out of style?

Pearl Jam? Oh yeah, good answer.

But, I digress. While indulging in my angst-ridden youth and seriously considering breaking out my old Misfits and Dead Kennedys records, it occurred to me how different I’ve become from what I thought I would be like at the age of 22. Granted, I’m still the same person I’ve always been, but I certainly don’t have an off-green faux-hawk and consider Daniel Johnston to be the greatest musical savant ever to walk the Earth – don’t get me wrong, I still think he is totally sweet.

However, oddly, this epiphany about my formative years shed a light on my formative academic years as well, and so may also cast a ray of hope on many students’ experiences here.

I’ve noticed – particularly this year more than another year – many underclass students are undecided in terms of their major and are floating around the academic cosmos, drifting wherever the educationally-inspired inertia of college life takes them. Although this indecision may be alarmingly nerve-wracking and never serves as a good party small-talk conversation, I encourage this state whole-heartedly.

I came to St. Olaf wanting to dig into the music and physics departments like no other and ambitiously took on as many classes as I could in the first semester of my first year, only to burn out just as ambitiously. Rubbing elbows with the musically inclined and the physics nerds still sounds great, but now I find myself one small step away from graduating with an English major – this after spending two years working on an education degree too.

I never saw myself following in the footsteps of pretty much everyone in my family (all English teachers, writers and editors), but after wandering blindly in the dark for most of my college career, it seems now that it was meant to be.

However, I consider myself fortunate for having drifted in this ambiguity for three years before I figured it out, because I was able to explore so many options until I was certain that I had found the correct path.

Don’t worry if you haven’t found what you’re looking for here, don’t worry if you didn’t show up to school knowing exactly what you wanted to do with your life. We are allowed to change our minds; it’s why we all came to a liberal arts college.





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