Experience is education

It takes more than a few courses to figure things out

Determining what to do with your life can be a daunting task, but through the thick of it, what really matters is that you do what fulfills you, even if it takes time to figure out what that is.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I want in this life, and more of that time has been spent changing my mind than actually accomplishing my goals. But I’ve come to learn that education along the journey can be just as rewarding as reaching a destination.

Not everybody knows what they want to do with their life at 15, 20, 25-years-old or older. But education, both formal and informal, can hold great value in providing direction for those who are seeking it. Through taking classes I discovered the importance of testing the waters, trying out new things even when uncertainty or a fleeting interest are the only things driving me forward.

I took a variety of classes throughout university – conflict resolution, criminal justice, psychology, sociology, and business courses among them – and through this traversing, I began asking myself questions like “why am I here?” and “what does all this mean for me?”

The ideas and assumptions I had about life, careers and choices were different going into university than they were coming out of it, and I wouldn’t have become who I am today without the influences and experiences that I took in along the way.

But I considered my reasons for being in university and, wanting to continue but without any direction or end in sight, I eventually took a couple year-long breaks from studies to “find myself,” as the saying goes. As a result of my time away, I started doing some personal writing on the side, my creative interests piqued and I found new fulfillment in something I could finally call my own.

It’s important to find passions in your life that are self-sustaining and long lasting.

It took me a while to figure this out, but it wasn’t until I discovered and incorporated my passions and interests into potential career choices that I finally landed in a place where I could see myself answering yes to the question: “are you happy where you are?”
Taking courses is a great way to discover your passions, but it’s not the only way. For me, it was a combination of experience and study and of learning the difference between what I like and what I love that gave me the ability to feel confident in my direction and choices.

Christopher Bryson is currently out of university setting his sights on his hopes and dreams

Published in Volume 70, Number 1 of The Uniter (September 10, 2015)

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