May 052003
Authors: Ashley Wheeland

I have been reading a lot of material that turns me into an introspective nut. I am drawn to such titles as “What should I do with my life?” and “Where am I going?” I have been questioning my own future, my own procrastination and what lies ahead. Like many of us here at CSU, I will be back for another year, but there will be many more after that when I have to deal with change.

I think my soul-searching has been more about what is in the “real world.” Is it really any harder than the stress of classes, tests and teachers? I doubt that is possible. These all seem to “real” to me.

When I look out into the American “real world” I see a many things. I see a need to know what to do next. I see a want for stability and a clear explanation and what it takes to succeed. I see leaders who have turned the American ideal into expectations by those who have defined predictability and expectations. I see wars and hate for anyone or anything that does not fit into the mold of understanding.

Why do we feel that change is scary or unnecessary? Why do we want stability and rationale? What makes us feel that we need to know what to do with our lives?

I think it comes from many factors. Our parents want us to succeed, so they try to help us plan for our futures. I mean, honestly, most of us are in college because we feel we need a plan. Another factor is the United States educational system. The emphasis on all-encompassing answers, the suggestions of the “right” choices, the constant planning that is done for students; all push for a system that is organized and predictable.

But life is not predictable. Many of us have chosen to go to school, because it was the predictable choice. But we have chosen to take breaks, we have chosen to change our studies, we have chosen to alter our lives, because the reality of life is that it is situational and dynamic. We have to be willing to be flexible (or we learn to be) to really see things happen and be happy with our lives. Our parents just forget to tell us that they had to do this.

A “reality” of life I think we have to take into account is our own individuality and our abilities to change and deal with change. We are all responsible for the choices we make. But the choices may not be the catchall end to what happens later. I know that I have this want for predictability that comes from my socialization. I also know that over and over again though my predications fail to come to fruition, and life is different than anything I could have predicted. For example I graduated with a degree in journalism. Go figure. I interviewed and was often turned down. Nothing that I thought I would want to do was an option. I had to come to the reality that I might have to try something else. I also had to really think about what I wanted to do. I found a job and thought about this.

And then the opportunity came up for me to come back to school. My parents reaction was that I was once again putting off the “real world.” For me it was another type of “real world.” For me school is something that I enjoy, and it is the place I want to be right now. I had to get off the predictability bus and choose to do something that I wanted. I had to be happy, and that meant doing something I enjoy.

So what is this column really about? It is for all of us out there who have been trained to be predictable and that the answers are available if we just look for them. I think in all honesty the answers don’t exist. Reality isn’t actual reality, it is just someone predictable perception. I know a lot of people who have followed the answers they were told exist, and still feel that they have not found what they have been looking for. I want to leave my ideals up to the questions. I want to have fun and take part in a life that is unpredictable and dynamic. Even if that means becoming a nut. At least the shell can be broken and I can define my own reality. Can you?

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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