The philosopher Vitamin C said it best in “Graduation” when she sang: “Will little brainy Bobby be the stockbroker man?”
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I spend all my time these days wondering about what will happen after graduation.
The clock is ticking.
It seems possible that my dream career is already out of my reach even before I start after it. But I still want to have a balance between productive schoolwork and enjoyment in these years.
The day-to-day life of college is just too much fun to always focus on schoolwork, even while I am staring down these burgeoning career goals.
You probably know about goals, too.
You probably want to be a stockbroker, lawyer, professor, economist or activist.
Right now in college, we are at the beginning of that future. And even though it doesn’t feel like it, everything we do now modulates that career path.
The fun we have right now every week is balanced against that bright future.
You could stay out for a couple more hours on Saturday night, but then you might be too tired to study for your test on Monday.
You might make some friends in those last hours on Saturday night or at the party that weekend directly before your midterm.
I’ll be the first to say that college friends are important, but in the long run I don’t think they are as important as your career.
Friends will see you through hard times, but success will let you avoid those hard times altogether.
The fact of the matter is, if you have too much fun, you can’t also make a 4.0. And you probably won’t make the best grades on your LSAT, MCAT or GRE.
The top schools and the top firms only accept people with perfect grades, great test scores and great references.
In the face of that, it seems like there’s nothing to be done.
We just conclude it’s a dog-eat-dog world and go about our business.
You’re competing with everyone else in your major for limited resources.
But with everyone reaching for the pie, no one will get a piece.
The end of college seems to be marked by the great expectations of the graduates and the degree to which these expectations are dashed against cold, hard reality.
Some might argue that the fun you have in your life makes you truly happy.
But I think that the true happiness comes from the securing of your relationships, your finances and your future.
That’s hard to have right now in this time of constant roiling possibility.
As an adult, life becomes much simpler in some ways.
The race will be over a couple years after college ends.
You might be competing against your coworkers and dealing with your boss, but there aren’t thousands of people vying with you for something you love.
But now is the time for excellence.
Working hard to make the grades you need to make will go a long way towards ensuring that career or graduate school accepts you.
Reed Wilson is a junior psychology major from Raleigh.
E-mail Reed at email@example.com
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.