Hey all. I was looking through some of my past documents today, things I had written when I was younger and whatnot. I came across a very curious Word Document.
It was a letter to my best friend last year regarding the differences in our lifestyles. He led one type of life, and with I being hesitant and doubtful, he tried to convince me to join him as a drop out; that it might be the wiser decision to take.
The following “letter” was one I wrote to him in response. As I read through it today, I was thoroughly amused at how much I have changed. The reason I publish this is because I feel it brings up many questions as to what a college experience can do to someone and what it cannot. Please note that some of the the views stated here are not what I believe in now, but I’ll present it as it was originally written.
I won’t say much more. Here it is. Read it. Take from it what you will.
"Are you proud of the person you’ve become? I would certainly like to say I am. Yet doing so would definitely be false. I am not yet proud of the person I have become. However, I feel that with each class I ace, with each paper I write, with each equation I compute, I come closer and closer to that goal. What is it I want in life: happiness, success, and the usual desires? Well, I apologize, but to this question I have yet to find an adequate answer. I suppose I simply want to live, to live before I die. Prior to college, to having my mind completely blown, my values challenged, and my way of life questioned, I was completely blind to what I wanted to strive for. Yet, with this one year in college, I feel I have been slightly enlightened to many things. One of which is my view on life. As you know, I made an effort to change my ways, to live a healthier and brighter life. It was an interesting experience. You urge me to be a shirker, to renounce my ways and join you in supposedly living the good life. I cannot. As much as you supplicate me to see it through your eyes, I simply do not feel that would be the wisest option for me.
Let us begin with this question: what is the point of college? Obviously, it is an educational facility whose purpose is to endow its attendees with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in today’s world. Those who attend and successfully complete the curriculum in their desired field should gain the skills to work a not only financial rewarding career, but also one rewarding to the human spirit. After all, we are nothing without something important to do. I have found, and you can argue this with me when I return, that one is happiest when they are doing something they feel is important. It keeps them occupied, keeps their mind off their troubles, and makes them feel good with the sense of accomplishment. Now, accomplishment of the individual is completely based on the specific individual’s talents and interests. This brings me to my first dilemma: What, exactly, are my aptitudes and my interests? You would think that I would know would you not? Well I have a variety of interests, but not so many aptitudes. This is the first aspect of my life that I must seriously contemplate, but alas, I digress. My point is, with college, I have the opportunity to lead a productive and therein fulfilling life.
Say I did, for some reason, decide to drop out of college. Would I be as happy as you are? Keep in mind that you are a social butterfly, befriending everyone you meet. I, on the other hand, am an empty shell, devoid of all emotion. The reason I attend college is to earn a place in this world, one that favors us, the emotional living-dead. I am here to avoid all the socializing I would do were I to live a simple life. I am here to have a foot in the door of the world. Attending a word class education institute is the first step in moving up in class. And although I desire it not now, perhaps a day will come when I decide I want to influence this world somehow. Would it not be more practical for alumni of a world class university to have a say in certain matters than a college drop-out? I do not know, but something tells me that if I have the chance to earn that title, to earn that respect, then I should take it. Would you not agree?
I know your major argument against my logic would be that of my own happiness. I know you would urge to forsake these matters and simply tend to what fills me with the most amount of joy. To this, I suppose I would agree with you. However, there is one glaring problem: I do not know exactly what makes me happy. Simply put, I do not know what I want. I believed that coming here, to a University of California and practically selling myself to a life of work and study would generate joy within me. This has not been the case, as I have told you many times. However, I do not believe matters such as these are completely black and white. I think the idea of working myself 24/7, of devoting myself utterly to the studying of a certain matter, of sacrificing my time and life for the better of society fills me with joy. It is the logistics of this ideal, as I have unfortunately come to discover, which plague me with sorrow. I suppose this is partly due to the childish and idiotic reason I held when coming here, that all my problems and woes would simply vanish, as if I was entering some magnificent utopia. I believe the flaw is here, the flaw that prevents me from fully enjoying my life as a student. In other words, the ghosts of what I was continue to obscure the correct path. You see the pain within me, but it is not coming from this academic lifestyle. It comes from unraveled seams in my past, from unsettled quarrels gone by. It comes from my utter and perpetual doubting of myself, my sheer bleak outlook on life, an outlook that snuffs out any joy I might have. You see, I have come to realize that my sorrows stem from my chronic depression. I suppose you can think of it as a habit of always looking at the bleak side of things, of worshipping the half-empty glass, something that has become as second nature to me as tying my shoes. I feel the fault lies here, and thus, I feel it is wrong to blame this lifestyle with my woes. I am not miserable because of my workload. I am miserable for other reasons.
I have taken your advice to heart, that of looking on the bright side of life, of attempting to mimic Yes Man. I have accomplished many things with that mentality. And before my little relapse, I was happy. I would wake up each morning, walk through the woods, breath in the fresh cool pine air, bathe in the light of the morning sun, and simply rejoice in my being here, of the life I had been blessed with, of the life I chose. I would think of my ancestors who would never dream that their grandchildren would be attending a world renowned university in the United States of America. I would think about how far I had come, of how at one point I was so deep in my emotional vomit that it simply hurt to exist. I would think that this is it, this is the time of my life; that at this moment, standing atop this forested hill before a limitless ocean; I was on top of the world. I was happy. This was it. This IS it; my life to live, my chosen path, my legacy.
Well, that’s all I can think of at the moment. I’m sure you’ll harass me with more issues that require deep contemplation. I hope I did not bother you too much with this professional speak. I simply want to flex my vocabulary and writing skills, sort of as a warm up to that writing position I’ll have next fall. Thanks for reading if you do read this, by the way. I’m sure it’s riddled with mistakes, both grammatical and logical, as I simply got this out in like half an hour.”