The Purpose of College

I like to think that I don't have a whole lot to worry about when it comes to the future.  Well, at least not yet.  I have an amazing internship, I'm involved with amazing things on campus, and I have great friends.  Plus I picked a major that doesn't require me to make any life decisions until the day I graduate pretty much.  I get to study what I want and I get to read as many books as possible without being expected to have a "real" job necessarily (work study isn't what I consider a real job).  

I love the fact that Columbia doesn't have any pre-professional majors.  I honestly believe that college should be a time when you get to learn non-stop for four years from people much wiser.  My life would be so different if, when I declare my major this year, I was signing myself up for a particular career.  I don't know how anyone can do that, to be honest.  There is so much of life that has yet to be explored, and if you put yourself into a tiny box then you don't have time to really discover what it is you want to do.  It's ridiculous to take kids straight out of high school and the influence of their parents and expect them to decide what they're going to be stuck doing for the rest of their life without even experiencing life.  

Last year I was terrified because I didn't know what I was going to do with my life.  Everyone tells you that you need to know, and even declaring a major seems daunting.  But the thing is, it shouldn't be.  While I don't think it's reasonable for twenty-somethings to necessarily know what they want to do, it makes sense that they know what they want to learn more about.  That's where I am with college now.  Because, let's be real, when else do you get four years to just read books?  I'm so much more at peace with not knowing my future, because it means that I can change what I do.  During NSOP a girl came to me worried because she hated the classes required to be pre-med.  I wish I could have just told her that she clearly didn't want to go down that path, but she needs to figure it out for herself.  Everyone pretends like they know exactly what they want to do with their lives, when they really don't.  And those of us who are at peace with our ambiguous futures better enjoy the journey to the future than those who are focused on it.  


  1. Madysen,

    I love this post! Especially because that is exactly what I was thinking when I came out of high school! How can kids be expected to decide on the course of their lives if they haven't even experienced life yet?

    This is one reason I love Community Colleges, too. One can still learn a lot while spending a lot less money, which gives one more freedom to change one's mind very often. For instance, I've changed my major at least once a semester since I started last fall. :P

    Anyhow, that's my two cents. Great post! And great blog, too!



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Meet The Author

I'm Madysen, born and raised in Nebraska but now living out my dreams in New York City. I moved here to go to Columbia, but living in New York has become so much more to me. This blog is a space where I can share my experiences of reconciling my midwestern upbringing with the life I live in the city. But even bigger than that, this blog serves as a space where I can try to understand where I fit into the larger social world, where I want to go in life, and how I want to go about pursuing all of these endeavors.

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