Monday, July 7, 2008

Can't Buy My Life

I recently go back in contact with a cousin on my mom's side of the family who I had not seen or talked to in years. To be honest I had been reluctant to re-initiate contact with her due to lack of contact and familiarity with the majority of my mom's side of the family. But, as my husband pointed out at the time, she took the effort to send me a high school graduation announcement the least we could do is send her a card and wish her well. I took it one step further and included my email address in the card putting the proverbial ball in her court. We started exchanging emails about two weeks ago, nothing too furious since it's like we're getting to know each other all over again.

One of the first things I asked her, which I am sure everyone is asking her, is what she plans to do now. From her response it sounded like she was attending college out of obligation more than a desire to further her education, and therefore really undecided about what she's going to do once she got to college. I think a lot of kids that are graduating from high school may be feeling this way. Like going to college is just what you do after high school and that's really the only reason for it. Like it's training wheels for real life. This may be, but some one is putting up thousands of dollars for those training wheels. I am not by any means saying that this is wrong - hell I will be the first to point out that that's pretty much what I did. But college really is a life in and of itself. I took it as an opportunity to redefine myself as me rather than my parent's child.

I was trying my hardest to avoid the roll of "older wiser cousin" mostly because I did not know how she would take it, but since she brought up that she was undecided about what she would major in, I figured I would pass something on to her and she could take it or leave it. "One of my professors told me this when I had to finalize my major my sophomore year at college: Major in what you love to do, there will be few opportunities in life to spend four years doing what you love. The only time a major REALLY matters is if you want to go to grad school or you want a career in something you need a specific degree for."

To be honest, I think that was one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received, because if you think about it, how many people really use the degree they got? All that matters now is that you have a degree and perhaps where you got it from. I am very happy, for one, to have taken that advice and would likely have regretted making another decision. And no, I'm not using my major or minor on a daily basis but the education itself was very valuable.

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