You probably thought the purpose of college was to get an education. You probably thought right. But the other equally important main purpose of college is to give you a chance to try new things.
Take the near death experience I had last week. It involved me in an engineering class for not-quite 30 minutes.
Chortle all you want, but it took me a good hour to calm down after that particular escapade. There I was, sitting in my engineering class reading the potential homeworks, mentally comparing the textbook to a paperweight for the Hulk and starting to feel literally queasy. After scuttling (read: booking it) out of that class I promptly dropped it like a penny off the empire state building. I think my second semester senior schedule looks much nicer with just 13 credits anyway.
Rehabilitation involved two of my engineer friends laughing their asses off in the atrium of Duffield as I tried to overcome what I’m pretty sure was Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Our conversation included gems like: “This homework looks cool, you’ve taken Fluids?” “Fluids? Fluids like the things that you pee out?” and “That’s how you tell it’s engineering. The syllabus put quotes around ‘fun’.”
Even after suffering that modicum of mental trauma, I’m still a little disappointed that it didn’t work out. Really and truly, I was pulling for that class. I had wanted so badly for it to be good and awesome and full of hot engineers. It wasn’t. Maybe it would have been better if I had actually been in possession of all of the prereqs (ahem, physics) instead of just half of them.
But so what if my foray into the engineering life turned out to be my personal version of hell? Really, who hasn’t had a bad experience trying something they thought would be fun(ny)?
I certainly could list a few more. Give my cat a bath? Bad idea. The cat didn’t really get clean and I just got savagely clawed. Make an effort to write an entertaining GRE essay and be funny by using the phrase “bowel movements?” Well, my writing score in the 48th percentile definitely taught me a lesson. Attempt to off-road in my Honda Civic in the snow? The teasing I’ve endured from my boss and coworkers, and the off-the-charts sketchiness of the towtruck guy will ensure that Penelope (my Civic) will keep all four of her wheels firmly on an un-snowy, non-dirt road from now on.
Yet even after all that — not to mention the countless other hairbrained ideas I’ve acted upon — I still enjoy the thrill of trying something new.
What’s the worst that could happen by taking a leap of faith into the unfamiliar territory of a new pursuit? Sure, some of you snickered at my aforementioned mishaps, but at the very least I’ve inserted a smile into your day. Even if the only result of your adventure is to make somebody else feel good about themselves, then it’s worth it. All of you know that some of your most miserable experiences make for the most hysterical stories later on. The kind of stories that cause you and your friends to laugh so hard you snort, can’t breathe and then get a wicked case of the hiccups. You only have one life to live, so you might as well live it 100 percent and sometimes that means making an ass of yourself.
It’s not like anyone can judge you for these life mistakes. Haven’t you ever heard your parents use the phrase “I was young and stupid” as an excuse for their dumb decisions of the past? News flash people: You’re smack dab in the middle of your “young and stupid” phase. Embrace it. If you haven’t noticed, I’m way ahead of you on this one. The rest of the world isn’t perfect either, as sooner or later everyone will have their moment to shine in the “stupid” spotlight.
This is not to say that for every new path you forge ahead you’ll one day have to whip out the “young and stupid” defense. Last semester I blazed a new trail for myself by trying out for the Vagina Monologues. I ended up getting a part, but either way it’s something that I’m proud of because I’m somewhat nervous about speaking in front of large groups. New foods also count. As of a couple of weeks ago I became a bean eater. I hated beans for 22 years but no longer! Now I’m eating beans in every spinner, quesadilla and wrap I get on campus and it’s awesome. Yes, I just expressed my joy about my newfound love of beans to you all. The little things in life count too.
We all just started a new semester, which is sadly a last semester for some of us, so what better time to add some flair to our lives? If you’ve been waffling over a question for a while, my advice is to make like a Nike and Do It. Whether you end up uncomfortable, ecstatic or satisfied isn’t always up to you, but I’m sure you’ll appreciate it (or the resulting story) in the long run. Happy trails.
Sam Dean is a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Casual WTFery appears alternate Thursdays this semester.