The Best Laid Plans

(Marie Lambert)– Welcome freshmen, and congratulations on surviving your first (not quite full) week of school! By now you have become acquainted with the joy and terror of add-drop, Val’s lunch rush, and more daily emails than you ever wanted to read.

But you’re here! This is college; this is Amherst. It’s all worth it, right? All the standardized tests, all the essays, all the applications and the waiting. You’re one of the chosen ones who got in, and now you can pursue your dreams of being a Neuroscience and Econ double major with pre-med who will eventually become Western MA’s most successful surgeon/philanthropist.

Those were basically my thoughts a year ago. During the millions of introductions during Orientation, I told everyone who asked that I planned on being an English and LJST double major looking into law school after Amherst, the eventual goal of becoming a public defender. What a poor, naïve child I was (this is not to discourage anyone from majoring in English and LJST and going to law school, by all means show me that it’s possible). I was going to keep taking Calculus and Spanish, just because it was what I did in high school. I had a lot of my life planned out.

But then it was time to sign up for classes, and I ended up throwing almost all of my plans away (very uncharacteristically). I abandoned calc and Spanish and took up art history and Greek on a whim. My English seminar quickly became my favorite class, and plans for the LJST major began to drift further and further away. By second semester, I’d decided to be just an English major, with a focus on creative writing. I would be a freelance writer after graduation, supporting myself that way until the publication of my first sure to be wildly successful novel.

At the start of this year, I’m not really sure where I stand. I’ve been rejected for the second time from the Fiction Writing class I long to take. I haven’t taken any LJST classes since Social Org first semester of freshman year, nor do I have plans to enroll in any in the near future. I don’t know if my dreams of being a public defender/fabulous novelist will ever come to fruition. Part of me despairs over how far I have strayed from the path I laid out for myself and tells me I will be nothing but another English major either unemployed or working sad, meaningless jobs for the rest of my life. But an abashedly optimistic part of me also thinks that no matter what classes I take or what my major is, it will all be okay.

I found this video of someone else summing up what I’m trying to say in a much more articulate way:

So freshmen, don’t worry too much about all your life dreams being ruined if you don’t get into Intro Psych or that upper level seminar. It may be the end of one world, but the beginning of another.