The Pleasures of Not Knowing What the Hell You’re Doing
I’m no A-student. I’ve always told myself at the beginning of each semester that this would be the one in which I’d finally meet my own expectations and, better yet, be satisfied with my academic standing. You could think of it as the title of a potential Friends episode; “The One Where She Meets Her Potential” or “The One Where She Gives Her Parents Something to be Proud Of”.
But, she didn’t. I didn’t. I’m wrapping up my junior year with subpar academic achievement and not a clue in the world with how I’m going to make a big turnaround–big enough to get me into a decent college and land me a decent career.
The thing is, I was fully capable of getting some good grades throughout the two previous school years. I was enrolled in standard classes, receiving a standard amount of homework, studying for standard test material, standard, standard, standard. Completely within my reach. I’d be hit with the ol’ “get your grades up” from my parents, but B’s were always expected of me. Nothing more and hopefully nothing less (although C’s would simply warrant a lengthy glare of disappointment. Almost lengthy enough to actually serve as motivation for me to work harder). There is literally no concrete reason as to why I didn’t put in the extra effort for my future. It is my future after all. I am the captain of this rowdy ship and yet have no idea what I’m sailing away from, and an even lesser understanding of where I’m sailing to.
Alas, here I am. My head is bobbing just above the Pacific with my feet dangling into the Mariana. Written on my forehead are the words “Save me!”, and written on the soles of my feet are the words “For God’s sake, just pull me under already.”. Like any other wide-eyed child I had dreams of a big future with a career I could frame the title of and hang on the eggshell-white wall in my NYC loft, adjacent to my big parisian window with a crystal clear downview of Central Park. A doctor, perhaps? No, well, not a vet either. Every little girl wants to be a vet. Let’s dream bigger– a highschool graduate!
So right now, that is what I’m trying to be. I think it’s pretty realistic and sets a low bar for myself that I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to achieve. At least then I will have had some accomplishment that’s pat-on-the-back worthy.
What I do know and can say is a straight up fact is that Pre-Calc is not for everyone. Neither is the entire history of British literature nor knowing the names of all two-hundred and six bones in the adult human body. We all know that school isn’t what defines our intellectual capacities. This knowledge is what keeps us from hating ourselves when we get a thirty-seven percent on our French midterm, or when we recognize that we have the lowest GPAs out of all our friends (these are all hypotheticals, folks. The preceding may or may not be derived from my own preexisting conditions).
I also know, no matter how much I doubt this for myself, that I’ll get into some college in some town and I’ll completely fall in love with it. I’ll fulfill my fantasy of marching on crinkly autumn leaves as I anxiously work my way up the stairs to the building where my first class is, and finally I’ll plop my belongings in a chair next to people I have never met before with the same wide eyes I had when I was little.
The pleasures of not knowing what you’re going to do with your adulthood surrounds the idea that going about life through the eyes of a naïve high school freshman might not be so bad after all. You don’t know what’s going on to the same degree as the people sandwiching you. Even the person your mind darts to when you think of an exemplary student is shitting themselves in fear and your own parents are most definitely taking adulthood day-by-day.
In conclusion, I propose a toast. Let’s raise our non-alcoholic drinks in unison as I say these final words:
Let’s relish in the uncertainty by being confused together. The most invigorating thing about life is that the future isn’t guaranteed, so let yourself be terrified.