It seems like every sunny day at Yale, children come to frolic on our lawns, stumble down the stairs in front of Sterling, and look over their parents’ shoulders to smile and gurgle, challenging passersby not to just love them. Oh, children. We were all children not too long ago, although playing doctor then and playing doctor now are very different things. Children have this strange ability to make up their minds and stick with it, unlike the confused college students worldwide. Kids dream up a big future and have the conviction or the innocence to believe without a doubt that what they wish for will come to pass. With graduation rapidly approaching, my uncertainty about just about everything makes me want to be five again really, really badly.
I had a dream once too. For a good part of my formative years I wanted to be a supermodel in Japan and soon, my ambition became an obsession. By the age of five I perfected Tyra’s runway technique, and by six I had successfully convinced my parents to let me study Japanese. Unfortunately, my failure to become Cindy Crawford and/or marry Mike Piazza (you know when he still had the mullet and played for the Dodgers) by second grade caused me to give up on my lofty aspirations. I’ve had dreams since then — traveling through space and time, becoming the female General George Patton, inheriting a duchy — but none of them had the staying power of being a supermodel. Some would say that giving up on my desires is just a part of growing up but really, a part of my soul died the day I stopped walking around as if I were strutting down a catwalk.
Now that I’m older, I see so many of my friends going through the same painful process. Really, the only conclusion that I can come to is that college is where beautifully laid out life plans come to die. Why else would so many imaginative, vivacious and persistent people from every thinkable major fight each other to the death to become investment bankers? What happened to being the next great American novelist, a teacher, a veterinarian or a doctor?
When you think about it, college leaves you more confused about things than you were freshman year. But then again, you are supposed to grow up in college. I suppose that could mean that, well, life is a big confusing mess. Almost makes you want to suck your thumb again, doesn’t it? Ga ga goo goo.
I think is about time we got back our childlike enthusiasm beyond Friday and Saturday nights. Kids know what they want and don’t really think about money or position when they decide what they want to be. Do they realize that we no longer have a space program? No! They want to be astronauts anyway. Does it matter that they have to go to medical school forever and deliver babies for a living? No! THEY ARE GOING TO BE THE BEST DOCTORS EVER.
So go out there! “Dream the Impossible Dream” (cue Robert Goulet), to reach the unreachable star, or the star that doesn’t suck as much as the job that makes you an “adult.”
You can be a philosophy professor, or you could be a philosophy professor/skateboarder/sculptor. Sounds like a pipe dream? Not to a five-year-old and certainly not to me. That’s just badass, and at the end of the day, the true essence of what we all wanted to be as a kid was badass. Do it.