Welcome to October. By the time this prints if it hasn’t snowed yet the only reason is we’ve been lucky and the weather gods have spared us another week.

Even if this is your first year at Concordia, there’s little advice left to tell you at this point. You’ve figured out where your classes are (what exactly is a Bishop-Whipple anyway?), sat upright and at attention through all your lectures, and you know that if you go out the wrong doors in DS even your grandchildren will still be embarrassed for you. At this point, a lot of what you will learn about surviving in college will already have been cemented in your mind. Yet, if I can urge you anything, it’s to keep your mind open to the future.

The way expectations are today, we are supposed to know what we want to do early on, because we use that to determine college choices and then graduate school or our first years in “the real world.” We’re taught that a college degree is essential to employment, yet the job market is such that many won’t find a job in their desired field for several years or may end up living back at home to save money in the face of school loans.

In that time, we’re rushed along to fill out résumés so that we’re more employable with little time remaining on this fast-track to question whether this is the path on which we belong. This is not meant to be an indictment of America’s education system, but it certainly is a problem students are becoming all-too-familiar with.

As a result, the pressure to lay out your life plan is almost overwhelming, and any variation from that plan can cause immense amounts of stress. Yet four years in college often brings to light underlying doubts or changes in interest. As much as it may be frightening or difficult, this is not a bad thing. Part of going through college is parceling out what your strengths, weaknesses and interests are. Without this kind of reflection, the potential of your time at Concordia will not be fulfilled, and it is too easy to give into the temptation to put blinders on until graduation and avoid exploring other interests.

For this reason, and after going through the process myself, I have an immense respect for those people who look at their current track of study and decide that they need to make a change. This is not to say it’s necessary or that those who do stay with their major are foolish, but it takes a substantial amount of self-searching and confidence to change majors. It can be a daunting task, but know that you’re not alone if you’re struggling with what the next step should be.

Also, keep in mind that people are serious when they say that the job that may anchor your career may not even be created yet. Take this as the liberty to follow your passion and turn it into your life’s work by recognizing that what you are studying may only be tangentially related to the field you ultimately work in or may turn into a job you’d never considered.

The important thing is to find what drives you. Take time to travel, explore, talk to friends, counselors, parents, priests, rabbis, the dog, yell at the TV. Read even more than you thought was necessary, and be introspective. Even while you are dissecting material in class and turning over ideas in your mind for essays, keep examining yourself in the process.

Patrick Ross

A class of 2013 psychology major with chemistry and biology minors, Patrick joined the Concordian as a contributing writer for Arts & Entertainment before writing and editing for the Opinions section.

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