Sunday, September 28, 2008

an uncertain future

Crap, I can't believe it's almost October. This semester certainly has been a challenge, but, taking it one day at a time, the weeks pass. It's taken me this long to feel like I'm back on top of things, keeping up with my work, navigating the slue of bureaucratic advising appointments, acquainting myself with my new professors.

I don't like my classes as much as last semester, but they're all necessary to my major, so whatever. I'll get through them, even if I learn nothing in my sociology class, which is a total joke.

This semester, I had a drastic crisis of confidence. Perhaps as a result of writing two major papers, reporting for the State Press, getting a job, and struggling with an excruciatingly annoying sleep schedule, I felt horrible about everything. Honestly, those few first weeks were incredibly depressing. I spent every moment, from the time I woke to the time I fell asleep working while my friends enjoyed the relaxing period of the first weeks of school.

Luckily, things have improved. Still busy, I'm handling things better—and I believe my writing improved substantially.

But all that's beside the point, or rather, a means to the point. During that hard time for me, I worried constantly for my future: whether to change majors, what the outcome of my education should be, can I live with the choices I'm making? I can't say why those questions haunted my sleep, but they would not leave, keeping me as constant company in their damning uncertainty.

Philosophically, no one can know the consequences of their choices, but some futures are more certain than others. Soon, our nation will use $700 billion to buy failed mortgages from financial institutions, which hope to make their futures more certain—or at least easy. It's unbelievable to contemplate: so much of our economic structure built on IOU's and bundled loans. People point fingers at the president, the banks, the economists. I don't want to point fingers; I want to express my sympathy.

A powerful county like ours can rest assured that its hubris will be its undoing. How much could be accomplished with $700 million? How many children educated? How many illnesses cured? How much debt renounced?

At least we will learn something: how many banks can be saved.

Money can push the limits of motivation. In the face of so many issues confronting our society (there's never a shortage) the financial crisis raises easily to the forefront of our concern. And why not? Our society places so much emphasis on money—earning, saving, spending—as to measure life-long success on its accumulation. I don't claim superiority over this problem either. I'm worried; worried because journalism doesn't pay well.

But I've resolved to value life's adventure over a good paycheck. I want to live not for my paycheck but on it. This path leads to uncertain places and a lot of pressure to perform. At least now, I have confidence in myself to embark on the journey. I hope our country—and myself—knows what its doing.

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