A Major Declaration

(I know, I know. You will no doubt excuse the play on words. We college students have to laugh when we can.)

Being a young person, I have frequently been asked, “So, what do you plan to do?”

For the record, higher-level adults who actually ask this sort of question: I know this is something that’s easy to ask, small-talk wise; I’ve done it myself! But the thought of choosing, now, something that will define me for the rest of my life, is terrifying, so you’ll forgive my reluctance to answer. I mean, I’m only 19; how am I supposed to know what I should talk about at cocktail parties and family reunions?

Anyway, having been in search of an answer since I first realized this was a question I would someday have to answer, I watched my friends who knew what they were doing, and I saw something common: whatever they chose, whether acting or writing or physics, was what their heart beat for. They were sold out for it, they couldn’t imagine their life without it, they just sort of knew, and, more than that, they were willing to work to get it.

Well, quite unexpectedly, I found what my heart beats for (at least in part).

It’s philosophy.

You may now make whatever jokes you would like about being underemployed, underpayed, over-worked, over-educated, thinking too much, planning too little, et alia. No, really, go ahead; depending on how cynical and/or witty I feel like being, I might even join you. But, despite my ironic agreement, I can’t be mocked out of this. I just sort of know that this is what I should choose, in that deep, below-conscious-reason, knowing-beyond-knowing sort of way.

It’s strange, how quickly and yet how slowly these things happen. On the one hand, I’ve loved Plato since I first read him in the eighth grade (I was a very precocious child); on the other, I didn’t really realize that there was an academic field that let me look at the ideas behind history and literature until about six months ago. It feels like my whole life has led to this, but at the same time it feels completely unfamiliar. Fittingly, it seems to have come as a surprise mostly to me; none of my friends or family members have been shocked by my decision to continue studying the same writers I’ve been excited about for five years.

I am simultaneously so certain and so frightened: the act of not-choosing so many other goods, of closing that many doors to myself, is so many of my worst fears encapsulated, and yet I know that the end result will be enjoyable for me, and that this is worth it for its own sake.

At any rate, it’s out of my hands now. The card has been turned in; I shall pursue Lady Wisdom.

Wish me luck.

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