Adam Kaminski | The Cool Column
I’m hungry for a fortune cookie
Published: Thursday, October 3, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2013 02:10
Food is delicious,” says the 20 pounds I’ve gained since arriving on campus. “What are you doing with your life?” asks the rest of me. I couldn’t agree more. What am I doing? I haven’t declared a major, I write lousy columns and I expect no fewer than five-star delicacies at Hall Snacks (five-star slutty brownies will do). I’m too preoccupied with peanut butter and “The Legend of Korra” to think about my future. So as I type away at Dewick, slice of pizza in hand, I ask myself again: How many pounds will I gain before my life has a course?
This ambivalence is a common, possibly universal predicament of the college student. It’s a predicament that the quantity of intriguing academic fields and fascinating food stations solidifies. If uncertainty doesn’t apply to you now, it probably will soon, or it probably has already. I mean, I can’t even decide between indulging in dessert or second dinner, let alone cognitive science or musical performance.
My life is so totally lost that I decided to stoop as low as I could imagine. I decided to ask others for advice. Skipping guidance counselors, career workers and professors (partly because I secretly couldn’t guess where the career center is located), I decided to ask people who really know me. People who are equivocally, unimaginably hopeless: my friends and peers.
Their critiques were brutal and their projections humbling. They knew a thing or two about positive punishment, damn psych majors. But really, they just wanted something other than a mirror to mock.
First, my friend Sam made clear that thus far my life has been predetermined. Put less romantically, I am an automaton, incapable of decision making. I’ve followed the societal stream of life to where I am now — college — but am daunted by the myriad, upcoming tributaries. Decisions (real decisions) are foreign to my feeble mind, she argued. Thanks for the tip. Yet there’s hope! Beginning to make decisions doesn’t need to seem so momentous, I was offered. Apparently not even for my “feeble” mind. The trick is to explore in college. Explore every horrid, filthy, uninteresting, dull and stereotypical collegiate avenue available so you know what opportunities are chum-crusted dead ends. By the ordeal’s end you’ll know what opportunities are real. You’ll also know how to clean chum crust from your Tufts university paraphernalia, a valuable modern-alum-from-the-modern-university skill.
My next question, “where will I be in six years?” was a stumper. I didn’t ask the Moirai, but I hope they’d have more to say. The answers I did receive were half-baked and inconclusive. The picture looks like this: I’ll be living in a metropolitan area (whether in a sewer or penthouse is still unclear); I’ll be “reading in a big way” (lottery tickets or Shakespeare?); and I’ll be a janitor (thank God I’ll have learned to clean fish guts).
I didn’t mean to let my peers paint such a bleak picture. No matter its accuracy, their speculation is unfair. Truthfully, there are certainly unexpected benefits to having absolutely no course in life that aren’t to be ignored. Without a schedule, you have the freedom to explore, have fun, go anywhere and sleep on street corners. You have the privilege to be an indecisive buffoon, at least for a little while. At least until sophomore year.
Having no plan can be intimidating as hell, but if I’ve learned anything from writing this column it’s this: Don’t follow friends’ advice, and revel in uncertainty. Anything less is unnecessarily stress inducing. Let’s embrace uncertainty and trust our future selves to procrastinate intelligently. Until then, I’ll see you in Dewick, salad bowl brimming with that familiar fusion of ice cream, peanut butter and cereal: my only plan at the moment, fortunately.