Right before class Thursday one of my students said he had ordered Crossing the Bridge free on Kindle and that he and his wife had sat up reading it long past when they should have been abed. They have three children, one of whom is an infant who wakes up during the night, and the young couple needed to get some shuteye.
But here’s what happened. They couldn’t stop reading. They both particularly liked the first chapter because it addressed so many of the questions they’ve been grappling with. Do you know how happy that made me? Not that someone had ordered a free book but that someone found it so helpful that he shared it with another and that now they are both searching for answers as they ponder their life course.
If I had to sum up the information in that chapter, it would be a question from Mary Oliver. “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Many people don’t put much thought into their college majors and careers. They end up in careers that they feel lukewarm about, mainly because they don’t know where to look for information to guide them in this important decisions. Others have well-intentioned parents who nudge them towards a certain profession, yet often students are ill-suited for or uninterested in what their parents want for them.
Chapter One begins with a scenario between one of my former students and me as we chatted in Wal-Mart. “Former” is the operative word. She was taking a break (hopefully not a permanent one) because she was clueless about what to do with her life and was actually considering a particular major because she knew she could get financial aid. I couldn’t really talk to her in depth that day, but her confusion and frustration led me to elaborate on the importance of knowing your personality, interests, aptitudes, and values before deciding on a major.
I haven’t seen that young woman in months, and I often wonder if she’s studying cosmetology, criminal justice, or phlebotomy, some of the majors she mentioned that day. As for the young man and his wife, I hope they’ll take their newfound knowledge and the questions it’s raised seriously. I hope they don’t close the book and say, “That was kinda interesting,” and then trudge off to work at a job that’s a complete mismatch for them.
What about you? Do you have any advice for people who are trying to find the college major and/or career that is most suited for them?