November seems to be an interesting time for a lot of people; the semester is flying by, the dreaded — or sometimes celebrated, for you ambitious type — notion of internships is beginning to enter people’s minds, and is it just me, or is 5 p.m. now the new midnight in terms of total depletion of sunlight and joy? I feel like the Game of Thrones quote, “The night is dark and full of terrors” has become a very real theme in my life as soon as afternoon hits.
But in terms of time and looking ahead, I’ve had a good amount of friends talk to me about declaring majors, planning for the future, budding career aspirations (you know, the usual small talk) and I’ve noticed a recurring—and somewhat troubling—theme: a lot of people aren’t making decisions based on what they want for themselves, but what they think will “get them the farthest” or what will make their parents satisfied, or even what they feel is socially acceptable. This kind of breaks my heart, because talent, creativity and passion are meant to be celebrated; conforming to what we think other people want is the biggest waste of time and energy.
I honestly couldn’t tell you the number of pursed lips or blank stares I’ve gotten in conversation with working adults when I’ve told them I want to go into the film industry. After the automatic raise of eyebrows and brief pause so they can think of something polite to say, I’ll get a doubtful response of “Oh, well that’s nice,” or if I’m lucky, a few quick pats on the shoulder and sometimes even a, “Go get ‘em, tiger” thrown in there. You know what? A, I will go get ‘em, B, don’t call me “tiger” when I so clearly possess lion-esque qualities, and C, I will not be thanking you in my back-to-back Oscar speeches when I win both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress because I was that good, the Academy decided to give me both categories. How you like them apples?
In her new book “Yes Please,” Amy Poehler perfectly encapsulates the unnecessary need for young people to know exactly what they are doing with their lives. She says “I think we should stop asking people in their twenties what they ‘want to do’ and start asking them what they don’t want to do. Instead of asking students to ‘declare their major’ we should ask students to ‘list what they will do anything to avoid.”
To me, this is so relevant to the kinds of anxieties and worries students on campuses everywhere are having about the elusive “future” and what we want to do with it.
If I was to make such a list, for example, it would definitely include not working through lunch hour at any job I have (because um, hello I value my lunch time like most people value opposable thumbs), and not being forced to wear a uniform of any kind. Unless I was working as an NBC Page — then I might make an exception. Anyway, I could go on and on with this list, but upon looking out the windows of Skillman and seeing nothing but black sky and vast emptiness, I think I need to go crawl into bed and let the magic of Parks and Rec remind me of the good that exists in this dark world. Yeager out.