The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Attending college an opportunity

It has recently occurred to me that I could be doing anything with my life. And here I am, at UW-Eau Claire living the predicted path that was planned for me before birth and cemented with a college fund. But talking to others, I find that most people feel that college was never not an option. Too soon for a mid-life crisis, and too late to change the past, I can’t help but question how many of us are wondering about what could have been.

Now more than ever, opportunity is knocking at new college students’ doors. Well, it’s banging and pleading and looming over my door of decisions like a regretful weight. Tempting our desires and tantalizing curiosity, opportunity flirts with the questioning of future plans whenever it can.

To think that we could have just taken a year off – backpacking through Europe, packed up a car and headed out west or maybe even gotten a cheap apartment in the city of sin – torment this idea of what could have been even more. Maybe I’m just not gutsy enough to go against the visionary blueprint of my expected life or let my parents down, but I think most of us came to college to pursue a degree in hopes of a bright future. But what is that bright future?

Living the American Dream is comfortable, yet cliché, and who wants to define their life that way? At this stage in the game, most of us know we’re doing what’s right and expected, but others may be wanting more. Some say you should follow your heart, but what if you don’t even know where it’s going?

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To address the other side of this argument, it’s not like I, and so many others, don’t want to be here. Eau Claire is a wonderful school with so much to offer, and since ultimately I know I want a college degree, I feel confident enough that this is the “right thing.” But just the phrase “the right thing” is so . boring.

I was expected to go to school all my life, and finally when I have a silver lining of choice in the matter, I decide to plunge back into the land of education instead of doing something liberating and potentially exhilarating.

All those unknown prospects of another “life” are even harder to ignore when students are stressed about school workloads or drowning in expectations from syllabi. To think that one day so many of us may look back on life and be disappointed in the opportunities not taken is a predicament of its now.

Now that we’re young and fruitful, I feel like we should be spontaneously living with reckless abandon . while we still can anyway. Why do what’s anticipated by society and our upbringings? Why follow the crowd when you know you were meant to stick out? We seem to be complying with what’s anticipated for our fates in such a habitual way that we leave no room to consider anything else.

The question “what could have been?” is an unsatisfying and limitless one. It gets you nowhere and only frustrates the situation at hand. Even with possibilities out there that we have or haven’t taken, one must realize that we should appreciate the present moment.

What we have in our hands is an opportunity of its own. Dwelling on possible directions our lives can, could have, or should have gone, won’t change anything. We have to seize what’s given to us now, instead of chasing something that may or may not ever be the trail we’re going to leave our footprints on. Maybe the way to serve our best interests is by giving this path all we’ve got.

Kelly is a freshman print journalism major and guest columnist for The Spectator.

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Attending college an opportunity