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Rated: E · Assignment · Biographical · #2189776
Major Project 1
Eleanor Ziarnik
Dr. Wells
ENG 102
26, February 2019

Branching Out

Picture a river. A massive river that extends across land for hundreds of miles, or even thousands. How does the river differ from beginning to end? A river of such magnitude would never just run one singular course. Rather, a body of water so large would have countless distributaries or smaller outlets where the larger body has branched off in so many new directions. Some of these outlets will come to an end, some will connect, and some will become so large that they will develop outlets of their own. If one were to sail down this river, there is no telling where they would end up.
In my head I see my life like I see this river, and I am on a flimsy canoe merely trying to make my way through its coursing waters in one piece.
I might be the most indecisive person I know. In my head I see my life like I see this river, and I am on a flimsy canoe merely trying to make my way through its coursing waters in one piece. Like every other kid, I was asked the same question by adults in basically any situation I found myself in.
"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
I don't think I have ever given the same answer twice. At first it was "Doctor," my only reasoning being that my dad was a doctor. Then, during my first trip to Red Lobster my answer became "Chef," and after my first vacation it had changed to "Pilot."
From the point of birth, almost all people people have very similar beginnings. Similarly, before a river begins to branch off or cut through mountains, it starts as a single stream of water. Everyone has to learn everything from scratch, and tasks like sitting upright, walking, and expressing a thought through words do not come naturally to anyone. It is primarily after this stage of learning basic life things where every person's life becomes increasingly unique.
Some people found the path they wanted to follow at a very young age. Some people have been working towards one goal their whole lives because they have always known what they were passionate about. This was never me, However, many times I found myself wishing it was. My life as a hypothetical river would probably look much more like a tangled mess with several dead ends than a smooth river with evenly dividing ends. Sometimes I am glad that I have never been set on one path my whole life. However, I do think life can be much more interesting this way. However, in certain situations it can also be much more stressful. Choosing a major was not one of my memories. In fact, it still isn't. I still haven't chosen one.
Although colleges today are perfectly structured for students who know what single area of knowledge they want to pursue, many students are undecided. This leaves them feeling left behind and lost. With every passing day of grade school I dreaded going to college more and more. I was never worried about the work load or the new environment because these are just tasks I am given that have attainable and straightforward solutions. My passion for everything was categorized as a passion for nothing. The main focus of college for me became choosing a major and my excitement to learn was clouded and I felt like this was going to be the deciding factor in what career I would have for the rest of my life. Making such permanent decisions has never been a strength of mine.
Many college applications allow incoming freshmen to check a box that indicates they are undecided. ASU was not one of these colleges. My solution was to check the box next to Graphic Design, but only because I had taken one class in high school and mildly enjoyed myself during it. I submitted my application, and started to research the dorm options I had based on my chosen major. I had applied to college extremely late because of how much time I spent deciding what I wanted to do after high school, and which major I was going to choose (typical) which left me with very few dorm options. Actually, there was only one, and all it took was the phrase "communal bathroom" and I found myself already changing my major for the first time. I was never sold on pursuing graphic design and I knew I would switch my major at some point so this came as no surprise, but this was before I had even started college. And it didn't happen just once, but three times; all before I had even set foot on campus.
I don't think I am a rare breed of particularly indecisive people when regarding college specifically. I think many young students are in the same boat as I am, and struggle to choose an area of study. Choosing what they should learn becomes the primary focus instead of just learning, and the point of college becomes disrupted. Freshly graduated from high school, many students don't have a clue what they want to study, and feel a similar pressure to quickly choose a career path as soon as they finish high school. These students, my peers, are accustomed to being treated like children at school even if they became legal adults during their last years. High school students, regardless of age, have to follow a dress code, ask permission to excuse themselves to the restroom, and need parental permission forms to watch PG rated movies in class. Six months later, they are generally being told to figure out a career path and follow it for the rest of their lives. From my own experience, I know how intimidating and restrictive this feels. I believe the structure of high school and college needs to allow for exploration and inquiry. Students should focus on their quest for knowledge in school, and other factors such as choosing major should not be of primary concern.
Although choosing a major has brought me a lot of stress over a long period of times, I think this will allow me to come across many diverse experiences. Many instances in life require people to do things in an organized and timely manner, but this is not always possible, and there is no single template for how people should exist. More than anything, I am learning that life is fluid, and there is no single correct path that anyone should follow.


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