The reason I am starting this blog is because I am taking an online journalism class at the University of Louisville, but I hope to make it much more than that. I’m very excited to get started. In the coming months (and years, hopefully), this blog will be a place where I can talk about things that interest me. It could be sports related, educational or philosophical. Maybe I’ll talk about the perfect piece of toast, the biology of why baby monkeys are cute or my road trip to Denver, Colorado.
I make no guarantees about my posting patterns because, like many of you, I have varied interests. I’m a Bioengineering student who is a sports blogger (milehighreport.com), for crying out loud.
I posted, at length, about my trip to Denver. It was an extremely rewarding trip, but I think the most rewarding part of the trip was the driving. Driving from Louisville to Denver is a 19 hour trip. That means lots of time in a car with tons of corn and pasture on either side of the road. It’s boring, at first, but after a while it’s therapeutic to be able to swim in your own thoughts for a while.
One of the things I thought about was my career path. I have been torn with the idea of being a bioengineer or being a sports journalist. There are advantages and disadvantages of both careers, but throughout my drive and internal contemplation, I realized that the answer to my question wasn’t a simple “this or that” response. I decided that the answer to my career path question was to live a life of “and”, specifically, living a life that it less specialized and more experiential.
As a culture, we’re asked by our elders what we want to be when we grow up. The culturally acceptable answers vary from “doctor” to “firefighter”, but rarely do people live the “bioengineer and journalist” lifestyle. We’re programmed to have a one track mind and then get worried or depressed when we find out how hard it is to have a one track mind. I pondered this for a while and I think that the reason people don’t often pursue multiple careers is because of this quest for greatness. People are sure that focus is the key to greatness and I’d be overstepping my bounds to say that’s not true. I do feel, however, that many people have varied interests and would be neglecting one aspect of their being to nurture another.
I can’t tell you how many people I know that are in the Bioengineering department that don’t really want to be there. They began down this path as a freshman and sophomore, but then when they discover in their junior or senior year that they don’t really think they fit into the field, it’s too late. They feel that they are too far along to quit, so they continue on living a miserable existence as a student in a field that they hate.
In my opinion, that’s the worst situation you can ever find yourself in, doing something you hate because you feel like you have to do it.
Another reason people don’t often pursue multiple careers is because they strive for greatness. In and of itself, striving for greatness isn’t a bad thing. However, when striving for greatness means that you neglect other desires or responsibilities, it’s a problem.
I’ll use another bioengineering example for continuity. A student I know (who shall remain nameless) was committed to academic excellence. He studied every spare second and aced every test, but he was an extremely boring individual. He didn’t spend any time building relationships and, upon graduation, found that all he had to his name was a diploma and countless job offers. Despite looking like he had it all together on the outside, he was actually at the lowest point in his life, emotionally.
You see, his drive to be the best, academically, meant that he set everything else aside. He was myopic in the way he approached his life and all he sought was career success, finding later that it wasn’t fulfilling.
The best way to live is in the middle, living a life of “and”. This is what I strive to do. I do strive to be successful, but more than that, I strive to be happy. If being happy means following multiple callings, so be it.
I can take comfort in the fact that I’m not neglecting one potential career for another because I have the fortunate opportunity to do both at once.