About the fourth year of college you begin to realize the real world is coming. And the truth is, the real world is not all that you think it is when you are a bright eyed and bushy tailed new college student. Sure the salary sounds nice, but rent, car payments, and groceries lay waste to your dreams of riches. Most of us will find jobs we enjoy. Indeed as an honors student, you are the creme-de-la-creme top dogs when it comes to the job market. If you are like me, however, the immutable dreams of your childhood will go with you to the grave. Your entry into the “real world” may complete a 21 year long goal, but your dream job will always be something just a little bigger.
This summer and fall I am dipping my toes into the murky waters of the real world through an internship. I have found that I love the work I am doing — it is steady, stable, safe. But one thing I cannot allow myself to do is settle. I will not settle. This has become something of a mantra for me in the past months. For so many, the 8-5 job seeps into the soul and apathy sets in — But I will not allow complacency. And I know I am not alone, honors students seem to have a propensity for big dreams.
If you are like me, your happiness is intimately tied to those goals you have. We persuade ourselves that achievements are significant and hold them as dreams. At one point, I dreamed of college, then I dreamed of the real world. But if you are a true honors student, you do more than just set achievement based goals. As an example, most of us dream of a diploma from ISU, but if the diploma is your only goal you may settle for all C’s. These goals are powerful motivators, but they lead to settling. Therefore, looking at the semester before you, do not allow yourself to settle for mere black and white achievement based dreams. Feel and emphasize technicolor, emotion-based dreams in your life. Strive for the satisfaction of knowledge, and the pride of perfection. Seek the exhilaration of adventure and revel in the absurdities of life. This year is not only for checking off boxes on your required class list in the hopes of fulfilling some far off dream. Remember to set emotional goals, goals that aren’t SMART (what a silly thought that was) but that are arbitrary, constant, and based on feeling. Then each moment becomes an achievement and with a devotion to the principle of dreams you meet in each second of your life, you can steer clear of settling.
My point is, if you wish away college, you will wish away your career, your retirement, and your life. Focus on this moment and create dreams and goals for yourself that are realized by simply living in the moment. Make your life a mantra: I will not settle.