You missed your weekly college application essay, didn’t you? Well, apparently I learned one thing in my science class freshman year of high school. (At the beginning of every class, we would pray because CATHOLIC. But our science teacher wasn’t Catholic and didn’t believe in prayer, so he had us recite this poem every single day. Apparently it stuck. He was a horrible teacher, but repetition taught me this. And it got me into Loyola Marymount University. Because GENIUS.)
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I, / I took the one less traveled by, / and that has made all the difference.” These compelling words by Robert Frost depict the message that Fr. Robert Lawton is attempting to get across to the Class of 2005. Coincidentally enough, during my freshman year in high school, my science teacher had us recite the “Two Roads” poem daily at the beginning of class until we knew it from memory. Although I did not think much of the passage’s message during that time, it now seems painfully obvious that he was trying to teach us a lesson.
Life is a journey. A person has the choice to take a safe path or a more uncertain path. By “safe”, it is meant that the path is one which a person has seen taken; a path that will provide them with a predictable outcome. For many people, this path is one to financial success. Numerous individuals abandon their dreams and pursue careers that have a history of producing a large amount of monetary rewards. When I was in kindergarten, if you asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up, many of them would have active imaginations and answer you with “a singer”, “a rocket scientist” or “a professional basketball player”. I have recently asked the same people the same question, and have been provided with responses such as, “a pharmacist” or “a manager at Kohl’s”. What has happened to the big dreams in the time span of twelve years? The answer is that they have discarded their imagination. They have allowed their imagination to become inactive. Without an active imagination, ideas cannot be formulated and dreams cannot be dreamt.
For many other people, the “safe” path is a more materialistic path. Many people begin this journey in middle school or high school, when who you associate with defines you as a person. It is in these years that things such as the clothes a person wears and the amount of money a person has have a real impact on whether or not they are popular amongst their peers. It is during these years that people establish themselves as followers or leaders, common sense being the only thing that discerns the two. People are blinded by the expectations of their peers and they begin to detach themselves from what they could be, doing only what is important to them in that moment. Some spontaneous actions can set them apart from their peers, but the majority of these actions turn into mistakes that can affect them negatively throughout their lives. Develop your own sense of style. Listen to the kind of music that influences you. Dream big dreams. People must allow themselves to bring out their inner child every once in awhile in order to live life to its fullest and strive for the career path, and the life path, that they have always dreamt of, no matter how impossible it may seem.
The path to a person’s individuality is extremely precarious. In early years, it may be the deciding factor in whether you are ostracized or whether you are a social butterfly. Things change in college, but they may still be difficult. Sure, a person will find more people that have their own sense of self. However, it is extremely difficult to decide who is a true friend and who is not in the naivety of freshman year.
A relatively unique situation that I face in the upcoming years is detaching myself from my twin sister. For my entire life, I have participated in everything alongside her. This has been a benefit, but has also caused me to not know a life without her. College will be the perfect opportunity for me to discover what exactly I want to do with my life, without the influence of my sister and the constant comparisons that we face every day. Even if we go to the same college, I will not be sharing so many of the things that I share now. I will not have her by my side every day to ask for her opinion in different situations. Not being around her might be the most difficult aspect of my college transition, but I am up to the challenge.