By Taylor Finke
As the end of the year draws close, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned in my first year of college. While I learned the ins and outs of AP style in journalism, the meaning of the word ‘petrichor’ and how Nathaniel Hawthorne used symbolism in his works, I have also figured out something much more important: that life is not a spectator sport.
Ferris Bueller put it best when he said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!”
I’ve found out you can’t just wait around and expect something great to happen to you. You have to go out and seize every opportunity you can get. Don’t be so busy going nowhere fast that you miss the chances that are right in front of you.
I don’t know about you, but I struggled to pay attention to what’s went on around me. I was always too busy figuring out what I need to do next or getting to class that I didn’t take any opportunities to break my routine. By the end of the day I was so exhausted that I didn’t want to do anything else. I guess I could blame the stress of the day for my lack of caring, but it was also just so much easier to stick to routine.
Near the end of last semester, I had a revelation: what’s the point of hating what I was doing every day? Life isn’t for just shuffling through, I mean, what’s the point of that? So I decided to do something completely off-the-wall in the next semester, just to shake things up. After all, as said in ‘The Princess Diaries’, “The brave to not live forever but the cautious do not live at all.”
On a wild hare, I joined an improvisational acting class and a stained glass class. Both have provided great ways for me to expand my knowledge and sharpen skills that I hadn’t used before. They also gave me the opportunity to escape from the hum-drum monotony of regular schoolwork. I also took up baking over the breaks I got, and discovered that I love it; enough that I’ve decided to make a career of it.
I suppose my point is this: if there is something you want to try, now is the time to do it. If you want to learn Chinese, travel to New Zealand or learn to play violin, go for it. Does a philosophy class intrigue you? Try it out. College is an excellent time to pick up new skills, and who knows? It might even lead you to a career you had never thought of before.
Now is the best time, or as Alice Morse Earl (and the turtle from ‘Kung Fu Panda’) puts it, “The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.”
Even if it leads to only being a hobby, or just a tale to tell around the holidays, it’s worth it. You just might find your true calling or simply pick up a neat skill. Whether you fail or succeed, it’s absolutely worth trying if you can say “I was actually brave enough to try that”.
After all, as the wise Doctor once said, “We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”
Taylor Finke is a freshman. You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org