Go to school, get good grades, do well on your SATs, get accepted into a great college/university, graduate, and then find a stable 9 to 5 job (suitable to work for during the next 35 years of your life). Freshmen, is it just me or do you find something wrong here? All of these tips that we encounter throughout our most crucial periods of maturation are all wonderful; except for the last tip which should strike you with the most concern.

Why is that, in every stage, whether it be in elementary, middle, or high school; students are always subliminally taught to grow up and become just an “average joe” in society? Only being shared the safest option of working for someone else, and not being exposed to the opportunity to be that higher power themselves. As a kid we’re fearless. We absolutely adore when adults ask us what we would like to be when we grow up. President of the United States, we’d say, or an astronaut, or maybe even the owner of a five star restaurant. Though, still attainable something happens as we develop into a young adult. The zeal and courage fade away. Our imagination gets trampled upon by reoccurring thoughts of doubt and fear. The lighted fire to be different and make a mark on our generation grows dim. We start to accept what the government, teachers, role models, and even our parents say, “Just find a steady job that pays well so you can get by…” Most of us get sucked into the idea of obtaining the set “American Dream”; purchasing a home (with a white picket fence of course) and eventually falling into a lifetime of debt, only to be escaped by working until we’re 65. Our nation’s current thinking has to stop. No longer can we deprive our young people of the countless opportunities they uphold. The 9 to 5 curriculum should be quickly replaced with a “you can do it” standard of learning. By creating a generation that is certain they can amount to anything, we can quickly eliminate the terms “what if”, “I can’t”, or “I’m not smart enough”. Our current mental schema of traditional schooling has to evolve. No longer can we as students just think of school as a place where we simply aspire to master the memorization of countless terms and definitions. Hungry only for higher GPAs instead of change itself. As a freshmen, regardless if you have targeted a major or are still discovering square one, you must come in assured that you will not let an exam result decide your fate.

As a kid you see the life you want, and it never crosses your mind if it won’t turn out that way. During my freshman year here I had the idea to start writing down anything I heard from students or faculty that confirmed directly how impaired our approach on ambitions are as a society. In my first semester I had a professor who announced to the class, “You want to get the most out of these next four years so you can be the best employee you can be”, completely unaware of the innocent but tainted guidance he was giving us students. As the year progressed I encountered classmates and hall mates who have unknowingly began to count themselves out of the “race to their dreams” continuously saying phrases like, “We have to have all the fun we can and do all these trips because after college we’ll be working for the rest of our life” and “I just hope I don’t end up hating my job…” Many unaware that even if you start off in a crappy job that doesn’t have any value to you that doesn’t mean that you are going to stay in that same place forever. You have to think of every position taken as an opportunity to better yourself and find ways to connect your current situation to what you’re passionate about. You can only go higher than where you are right now, today is the lowest that you’ll ever be if you keep your eyes on the ending prize.

With our nation’s current mindset I steadily become more and more motivated to find ways to inspire my generation by reminding them that it is ok to follow your passion and take the risks we never thought would stop us when we were merely children. “People are so afraid that something might happen. To them, fear is so much more important than their dream. Don’t be afraid that something will happen, be afraid that nothing will happen.” (Herman Zapp)

Freshmen, even if after reading this article you never think about this topic again or maybe through your journey here you encounter situations in which it is hard for you to refrain from taking society’s “safe” way out; just remember that if you choose a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life.