Upon entering college, I've really begun to question my upbringing. Don't get me wrong, I am beyond grateful for those who raised me and how it shaped me into who I am today. However, when comparing the values thrust upon me in college to those from my childhood through adolescence, I can't help but notice they don't match. In fact, they seem to be opposites.
When growing up, people seem to tell you to be as well-rounded as possible. Not just your parents, but society as a whole. In fact, as you approach the end of your high school days, the only way you seem to get opportunities and scholarships is by being well-rounded, confirming this theory even more. But once you reach college, this value seems to slowly flip.
Your freshman year, any club imaginable encourages you to join. This follows the value you were raised with. Then, as you begin to progress into your higher education, you're told to narrow down your priorities. Professors expect you to only focus on your major, for that's the only aspect of your future that matters. Yet, other aspects of you expect you to be fully devoted to them.
I have always been extremely well rounded. In fact, when I was younger I had always dreamed of becoming a veterinarian-professional cheerleader-singer-actress (I had big plans, including becoming alumni of two different colleges). While this may seem silly, this type of mentally is highly encouraged among children and therefore stuck with me throughout my years of maturing.
When asked in high school what I wanted to do with my life, my answer was much simpler; to inspire others. Whether that was by taking one route or another, I just wanted that end result. In fact, I was accepted into eight different colleges and had a different major picked out at each one (Let go, and let God really got me through that one). Even when the end of my high school days neared, this mentality of being versatile was still pushed on me.
However, when I tried to double major in two areas that were not similar, my advisor shut down my ambitions. Immediately entering this new world, I was expected to only care about the club, major, or minor I was focusing on in that instant. I am beyond confused as I approach my sophomore year of college, still wondering if working to become well-rounded my whole life was worth it.
Although I don't want to be a veterinarian-professional cheerleader-singer-actress anymore, I still want to be one thing without feeling ashamed, myself. I am studying Equine Genetics and I'm beyond excited to pursue it. However, I enjoy writing and want to stay connected with this piece of myself forever. And lastly, I want to directly inspire people by talking or working with them personally. This was encouraged as I pulled out of my driveway for college, but immediately shut down upon arrival. I would just like to know what is expected of me, but society is too moody to make a decision.
If any other adolescents are struggling to maintain their values and pursue their goals, don't feel alone. I'm just as confused as you are. As long as you work hard and follow the opportunities you are given, you will make it. Society has nothing on your talent.