By: Online Editor Hayden Vick
From From Franklin to You, a blog I do for fun:
I spent the majority of last weekend in Lexington, Virginia at Province Council, which is a regional conference for the officers of my fraternity, Kappa Alpha Order, at various universities. About halfway through Saturday’s meetings, the large group broke off and we spent about 30 minutes doing “alumni networking.” We had the opportunity to go around the room and meet KA alums who have careers in different fields such as law, business, and even summer camps. I, of course, was immediately drawn to the latter. I spent the entire session speaking with a KA who runs an all-boys summer camp in the mountains, and we agreed to keep in touch regarding my possible employment there this summer.
As I took my seat, I discovered a sudden pain in my stomach. I looked around and, having seen all my peers networking with men from more “professional” fields, I wondered if I was “doing life” wrong. For the rest of the day, I discussed the networking session with some of my buddies who had gone and talked with alumni in banking and law. I heard them voice their excitement to get their feet in the doors of where they see their futures heading, and that pain in my stomach intensified. Am I behind?
Instead of going to dinner with attorneys and hearing how they propelled themselves in the field of law, I choose to babysit three days a week and give prospective students tours of Carolina. Rather than apply for fifteen summer internships at various law firms, I have been scouting out different summer camps for months to decide which one might be the best fit for me. When presented with both organizations, I chose to spend my free time leading UNC student volunteers in the surrounding school system rather than joining the pre-law fraternity on campus. Throughout my collegiate career, as was evidenced at this conference, I have constantly chosen heart over mind, fun over professional, living in the moment over planning ahead.
That stomach pain I experienced on Saturday was a buildup of anxiety stemming from these choices I’ve made over the past two years. I look around every day and see my friends preparing themselves for their future careers. I see one of my buddies, for example, already preparing to be a successful politician, doing everything he can to succeed in his field of choice. Someone else, likewise, is strategically and intelligently involved in various organizations that will show future employers that he is a competitive applicant. One of my gal friends is connected to almost anyone she will ever need to know to be successful, and she has been preparing for her future for her entire collegiate career. These are all standout individuals; there is no question that they will all be successful in their careers of choice, but will I follow their examples? Am I choosing fun and what brings light to my life too much over what is likely to make me a successful attorney in the future?
Law is still where I see myself a few years from now. As I’ve always felt and still do feel, becoming a trial attorney is a natural fit for me. I see myself leading a courtroom, displaying my love for public speaking, and making a difference in people’s lives. I guess I’m preparing myself for this future? Maybe not. Regardless, if I’ve learned anything from my time in Chapel Hill thus far, it’s to never second guess yourself. We define ourselves by the choices we make, and while I might not be adequately preparing myself for my future career, following my heart is the most important thing to me at present.
That stomach pain represents my second-guessing myself. It represents my doubting if I am good enough. What I realized while sitting in that networking session last weekend is that there is no reason to worry about what our futures may hold. If we are doing what we love and striving to make a difference in the lives of others, we can’t go wrong. Am I behind, lacking, or unprepared? No, and neither are you. Using ourselves to use what we love doing to make a difference in the world, even if that difference may seem minute, is what matters most. Whatever that love may be, embrace it and find tangible ways to use it. For me, it’s working with kids and public speaking (an odd combination, I know). These are not directly related to pre-law, and that’s fine. The future is bright for all who do what makes them happy. If you do what you love, whatever that may be, there is no need to fear the future.