Einstein’s Theory of Relativity proved everything is relative; there are no absolutes.
As a communications major, I probably shouldn’t geek out about a physicist’s findings, but this theory is one principle that I’ve found to go beyond a simple study of motion.
When I came to college, I had my whole life planned.
My classes were mapped out semester-by-semester so I could complete a double major and minor in three and a half years. I knew which courses I would take (too boring), which clubs I would join (too many) and which internships I would acquire (too impractical). After graduation, I would get a job in St. Louis and move back to my family and my roots. Eventually, I would get married, and my kids would go to my alma maters.
In other words, I would live the life I always wanted.
I was certain these plans were absolute, but these plans lasted for a total of one semester.
Then, college happened. Life happened. Rejection happened.
And opportunity appeared.
My classes introduced me to new career possibilities. My clubs connected me with people of other majors and interests. And my internship rejections opened the doors for different options.
That journey I had planned, that path of motion as Einstein would say, was nowhere near absolute.
As I struggled to cling to that path for two years, it became more and more evident that it was all relative to the things that came my way and my reaction to obstacles and achievements.
While I sat through classes I didn’t enjoy and joined clubs that only supported my expected career, I limited myself. I missed out on opportunities to make new friends, explore new possibilities and discover new interests.
Since dropping one of my majors to a minor, taking internships I never would have expected and joining clubs that have little relevance to an advertising career, I’ve taken that straight path and added twists and turns, hills and valleys, breaks and bridges.
Now, I’m sitting here as a junior with 120 credits and only four classes left to take, scrambling to find an excuse to stay a full four years. My career aspirations range from working in an ad agency to joining the Peace Corps, getting a job in student affairs to becoming a high school teacher.
I register for classes next week, and I have no idea what I want to take. I don’t know when I will graduate or what I will do after college ends. Basically, I’ve reached a typical college student crisis.
Few of us know where we will be five years from now or even what we want to be doing. What I’ve learned is this is OK, and we shouldn’t limit ourselves.
So take on that executive position. Go to that volleyball game. Say “yes” to that internship.
As we do these things, we encounter new people, we expand our skills, and we make the most of our opportunities. Through these experiences, we build a solid foundation for whatever path we pursue.
I may not know where I’ll be in a couple years, but that’s alright. I’ve come to accept it, and I am confident in the groundwork I’ve built for achieving whatever goals I have.
It’s impossible to be absolute about the future.
The only thing we can truly be certain of is there will always be uncertainty. So embrace it, roll with it, and enjoy the ride.