Liam Bendezu, opinion writer.
Another winter break has come to a close, and another spring semester has begun. Personally, my break was quite refreshing: holiday celebrations were happy and relaxing, I reconnected with some hometown friends and spent quality time with my family. Nevertheless, the age-old question seemed to wiggle its way in to make sure my hiatus from stress wasn’t too successful. That is, of course:
What are your plans for after UNC?
Why is this question so hard to answer? To those oblivious to the torment of providing a decent reply, it would seem that we have the world at our fingertips. Our youth affords us a level of flexibility and opportunity unique to this stage in life. We are often told that there are innumerable paths in front of us; all we have to do is pick one and work hard to succeed. The rest of the things that make life full will come in their own time.
The mistake here is forgetting that while youth comes with opportunity, it also comes with uncertainty. We often feel torn between what we want in life and what seems practical. Some don’t know what they want at all. And while this tension exists within ourselves, it’s complimented by a world waiting for us after graduation that often seems unstable, unkind and ruthless. Thus, stress. Lots and lots of stress.
Here we are, at the start of a new semester, year and decade. Most of the next ten years will happen after we’ve graduated, and we have no idea what’s in store. And that’s terrifying. But at the same time, it’s pretty exciting. All the “Roaring Twenties” jokes aside, this is the decade we all get to grow into ourselves, into 'adults.'
When we think about life this way, the uncertainty seems exciting — it becomes possibility. It’s not as predetermined as opportunity. Possibility is a type of freedom to let our imaginations have a direct impact on our lives in any way we choose. Engaging with possibilities can help us overcome the stress of uncertainty.
Before you call “bullshit,” humor me a little. While possibility is still subject to the outside world, it’s not restricted to the paths that already exist. Creating possibilities is a rejection of what already lays before us, in favor of something new and entirely individual. In this way, we choose the outcomes of our own lives, overcome uncertainty and find happiness.
What are we supposed to do now? How does this help us decide what to do during and after our time at UNC?
The answers are entirely up to you. What’s something you’ve always wanted to do? What are your passions, your interests, your guilty pleasures? Perhaps pursuing these things in a more meaningful way will lead you to develop your own path through life with them. Maybe there’s something you’ve yet to discover — go find them, and don’t get too hung up on minor consequences.
Embrace the possibilities, Tar Heels. Welcome to the 2020s.
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