Going to college for the first time? Or maybe you’re going back to school to fulfill a childhood dream. Whatever your situation, you’re bound to have a mixture of worries and hopes. If you’ve already chosen your major, you’ve also been asked this question, “So what will you make?” A difference. But how do you make a difference?
Your education will make a difference if you pursue what you are passionate about. Just for a moment, forget the salary, forget familial pressures, forget what everyone else says you’re good at and breathe. What are you good at? What do you care about?
Maybe you don’t know your passion yet. I’m a 24-year-old post graduate student and I’m just now starting to see the things that make my heart leap and also make it bleed. I’m just now starting to find the things that give me a reason to keep breathing for the next 80 years. So be calm. If you don’t have your passion figured out yet, you will get there. The first step is being honest with yourself by asking hard questions. If you want your education to change the world, you must first refine your focus.
Yes, really. There are two kinds of writer’s block. The first comes from just generally not caring about a subject. The second comes from caring so much that you paralyze yourself with the thought of doing it wrong. However, it is your reaction to either phenomenon that sets you apart. Want your education to make a difference? Find a way to engage with the material. Whether you can’t stand it or you love it to pieces, find a new way to engage, a new angle to take, and not only will you develop your personal integrity, but you might even find some exciting new idea in the process.
This springboards off of overcoming writer’s block, but there is something to be said about perseverance in general. In life, you are going to meet a variety of challenges (some of them will have names like “Martha” or “Sam”) and you will need to handle them with grace, tact, and diligence. The most important thing to keep in mind whenever you are tempted to quit is your main goal. Why did you go into your field in the first place and what is the best way you can serve your goal without compromising your beliefs? This way, you will learn to deal with difficult situations or people accordingly (and hopefully with kindness).
Knowing your strength
Find the things you’re good at. Not just school subjects, but any skill you have or want to develop, find a way to funnel it into your overall goal. Whether it’s volunteering at child healthcare organizations or playing bocce ball every Saturday to blow off steam, find your talents and use them to push you forward.
Looking to grow
Try to grow not in just your field but in yourself. Your degree is important, but your attitude and willingness to grow is paramount. We live in a society that preaches, “don’t change, you’re perfect,” but growth is change. Be who you are, but be willing to expand your definition. Whether you’re pursuing an masters in analytics or you want to join the Peace Corp., when you leave school, you won’t be who you were. You’ll be you, but wiser, stronger, and a firmer sense of who you are. That is the first step in making a difference.
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.