Currently, my senior friends are freaking out about cap and gown costs, graduation logistics and their post-grad plans. Talk of loans and senioritis and nihilistic apathy fill the air and comments about how college was nothing but a waste, the job market is terrible and the world isn’t fair are quite prevalent.
I hate it.
I despise cynicism. It wastes time, it’s not productive and it generally brings everyone down. While I totally understand the reasons why things like the job market and paying off debt are important to consider, I generally find a vast majority of graduating seniors just moaning and groaning and making the world a more miserable place for everyone around them.
I’ve seen this behavior every year for the last four years running and quite frankly, I’m irritated.
Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing bad about taking the future into consideration. But there’s a difference between putting productive thought into one’s future plans and whining about how you’ve been bamboozled because you aren’t able to get the kind of job you feel you were entitled to just because you went to college.
Here’s a reminder to everyone out there who may (but shouldn’t) need it: the world is not fair. There’s nothing you can say or do to deny or change that. Whether you like it or not, you won’t always get to have things your way. Ideally, you should’ve learned this in preschool, but perhaps now you can admit you really did learn something in college, can’t you?
I’m willing to bet the majority of people who whine and complain about how terrible post-grad life will be all have one vital thing in common.
They have nothing to be passionate about.
It may not seem like it, but of all the things to learn about in one’s college years, passion is the most important, hands down. It’s a bit of cliched to say, but having something you’re passionate about is what differentiates living from merely existing.
What does it mean to be passionate? It means finding something in life to get excited about, something that energizes and arouses and engages you. It means being excited about being alive.
Passionate interests keep a person’s life in perspective. They give a person a reason to get up in the morning, regardless of how depressed or exhausted they may be. And even if they’re not at the center of one’s life, they allow for a sense of inner peace even in the worst of times.
Passion is magnetic and contagious. It represents a level of vitality that so many of us lack.
Unfortunately, as a society, we have a bit of a double standard when it comes to being incredibly passionate about something. We’re taught not to pursue things like the arts, because there’s supposedly no money in it, and yet we actively praise those who are passionate and driven enough to pursue their interests. We both honor passionate people and shun their lifestyles. They’re brave for sticking their necks out and living on their own terms, which is precisely why we ridicule them.
It’s a tragedy that, even in an age where we use social networks designed by college dropouts who end up having countless books and movies made about their lives, so many people are still afraid of pursuing their passions. Too often we find the science or math major, whose parents decided their majors for them with the goal of making them desirable job candidates, and are thus unsatisfied with a major they hate.
To these people I offer a challenge: don’t give in. Find something that you really care about and pursue it to the end. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t lose faith.
Because the worst tragedy in life isn’t hitting rock bottom: it’s hitting rock bottom and staying there.