Choose a Circuitous Path
Bushra Khan is a fourth-year psychology student.
Like most of our generation, I spent much of my childhood watching the likes of Arthur, Paddington Bear and the Magic School Bus. The Magic School Bus was my favourite because of Miss Frizzle’s eternal mantra of “take chances, make mistakes and get messy!” What I have found in being a young professional in contemporary Western society is that the ideals of being imperfect is almost stifled out of us nowadays. Hey, I get it, we live in an unforgiving world; there are more educated undergraduates in Canada than ever before, tuition is expensive and getting a job in your field of study is challenging. However, I truly believe that we do ourselves a disservice if we plan out our lives in our first year of university and never look back.
Carl Rogers, a prominent Psychologist and founder of Humanistic Psychology, once said, “the only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.” Most people believe that the task of university is to train us for our future careers; however, what they do not realize is that the work environment changes much more quickly than academia ever will. Education actually serves a purpose greater than getting a perfect grade point average, having professors write you references and possessing an enviable curriculum vitae; the value of a good education is to create an individual who thinks critically and behaves responsibly. We must realize that rather than training for our future, our schooling is actually forming who we will be in the future. As a result, we must take advantage of the opportunities at our disposal to learn as much about ourselves, take as many chances and learn to not be afraid of failure. This mentality advocates well for a circuitous path, which is in its essence, a non-direct path. Having an idea of our interests and values is a great starting point but to benefit from our education we must be malleable to what we learn from our experiences.
This past February I travelled to San Marcos La Laguna in Guatemala with the Carleton Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program where I served with Pura Vida Atitlan, a local non-profit. Community service learning is an integral aspect of the ASB program; ASB allows students to grow emotionally by fostering a connection to the global community and relating one’s service to personal life goals. Active and engaging experiences such as ASB allowed me to realize what our generation’s goals don’t need to occur on a linear schedule. Our purpose, rather, is to learn what inspires us and to do work that is meaningful to us throughout our lifespan regardless of how long it takes accomplish. Consequently, let’s advocate for taking chances, let’s advocate for making mistakes and let’s advocate for getting messy simply because failures only hurt for the first two days.
Be brave and know that life is a long and winding journey where you may end up somewhere you never even expected to go.