Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, MI • Hometown: Morton, IL
To choose the best post-secondary path, you need to determine your goals -- what you feel you were created to accomplish on this earth. Without a destination, it is impossible to choose a route to take you there.
Since I was sophomore in high school, I have known that I will be a journalist. While I don’t have my entire life planned out, I know that I am on the correct path. A few days before I left for college, I realized how important it is for high school graduates to have this confidence.
During an appointment, my doctor questioned my decision to pursue journalism, as so many others have done, and he suggested I take a personality test to determine a fitting career. After assuring him several times that I don’t need a $100 test to affirm something I already know, I realized that I will forever be questioned about my choice to risk it in the journalistic world. Because I know it is the right decision for me, though, I can’t allow other’s qualms to hinder me from accomplishing my dreams.
Keep others’ opinions in their place
As a senior in high school, you are finally entering the stage of life where you make your own decisions. More importantly, you choose whom you allow to influence your decisions, if anyone at all.
While most everyone gives you their opinion with the best of intentions, it is your life and it is you who will be held responsible for your actions, regardless of who influenced you to make them. This holds true for choosing a post-secondary path and what you do once you are there. There are times you need to listen to the wise counsel of others, but do not allow others to persuade you to do something you don’t
believe will put you on track to accomplish your goals. I believe that each and every one of was given gifts -- abilities to excel in specific areas.
Also, we all have certain causes and issues about which we are passionate. These strengths and passions are what should lead us in choosing a post-secondary path. Don’t allow the expectations and opinions of others to hinder you from choosing the path that best utilizes your strengths and allows you to follow your passion. Also, don’t allow fear or frustration keep you from following these dreams. The first few weeks of college are often filled with both of those things for many students, and it is easy to attain a negative attitude and doubt.
Expect to make adjustments
Whether your choice is to join the work force, enlist in the military, or earn a degree, there will be setbacks that make you question your decision. If you are using your talents and following your passions in pursuit of your dreams, it will be easier to combat these doubts.
The reality is that colleges and universities do a great job of hiding their weaknesses from prospective students, and everyone is going to find flaws with their post-secondary choice. The first few weeks and months shouldn’t determine whether you will continue down that path, because it takes awhile to get adjusted.
Some days, I wake up worrying that maybe my doctor was right, but because I have confidence in my decision, I know I shouldn’t waste time worrying about a phantom problem. Just as I am at Hillsdale College to fulfill my dreams, I hope you choose the path that will accomplish yours too. Don’t ever limit yourself due to doubts -- yours or others’ -- in your ability; incredible things happen when people have big dreams and the confidence to believe they can achieve them.