There was a boy I knew in college who used to give me a lot of grief about being a horticulture major. I did not interact with him very often. In fact, most of our conversations took place when our groups of friends merged into one during meals at the crowded dorm cafeteria. He chewed with his mouth open and complained about schoolwork; he was studying computer science. He was a somewhat awkward boy, and not always very polite, so I tried to let his comments roll off my shoulder. It wasn’t easy.
Our groups had merged again during dinner. It was the week before finals, and we were all stressed. During this particular semester I was tackling organic chemistry, plant physiology, plant pathology, floriculture production, and herbaceous perennials of the landscape. It was a nightmare of a schedule; I had at least one exam every week after mid-February had passed. The material I was learning was fascinating, but I had never been so busy as a student. I tried not to complain about my workload, but, really–an exam every single week. For over half a semester. Can you really blame me?
While we sat at the table and munched on our food, we were trying desperately to think about anything other than final exams and projects. It wasn’t working. We each took a moment to whine about how busy we were and is it summer yet?!
During the conversation, this boy had the audacity to ask me, “Well, what do you even do for your finals, anyway? Just play around with plants?”
I set my fork down onto the plate. I was livid. There were about a million different things I had wanted to do to that boy. I wanted to punch him. I wanted to dump my tray of food all over his lap. I wanted to force him to take my organic chemistry final. But those are not very nice things to do to a person.
I looked at the boy and took a deep breath. Finally, I asked him, “Do you even like your major?“
“No, not really.” He replied.
My anger towards him dissipated and was replaced with sympathy. Suddenly I felt so bad for him. He didn’t even like his major. I couldn’t fathom it. I adored everything about horticulture (okay, except for organic chemistry). I was dumbfounded. And speechless. I gathered my not-yet-empty tray of food and left the table. I am not sure if I’ll ever forget that conversation.
Today I discovered a blog entry where the writer admitted to liking their major, but not really loving it. This concept still seems so foreign to me. Shouldn’t we be utterly passionate about what we would like to do for the rest of lives? Shouldn’t we fill our lives with something that gives us such a great deal of purpose and joy? We should be living our lives in such a way that we are excited about what we do and proud of what we can accomplish. And we should love every ounce of it.
And if we don’t love it? We find something that we do love. We fight for it. We work hard at it every day; we strive to improve and we endure the challenges that it might present. Because we love it and it’s worth it.
I don’t love the graduate program that I am in right now, so I am officially withdrawing from the program at the end of this semester.
But you can be assured that I will find something that I do love. And I will rock at it.