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    FOR CE: Follow your Heart by Nuria



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    Join date : 2009-09-01

    FOR CE: Follow your Heart by Nuria

    Post  CoraOrmseth on Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:19 pm

    Follow Your Heart (can’t think of a title right now L)

    When I was a kid, my sole ambition in life was to be the first person on Mars. I daydreamed about manning my own spaceship, completing a decade-long journey to the famous red planet, and proudly planting the US flag on Martian soil. I was certain that space exploration lay in my blood—at least, until I shared my designs with my first-grade desk partner, who promptly informed me that I was an idiot. My dreams are somewhat more practical now, and I tend to relate them to more objective listeners. But the message still hasn't changed.

    The great thing about America, I'm told, is its offer of unparalleled freedom, the promise that the only limit to what you can accomplish is your willingness to make it happen. Feel like opening your own records shop? Save up a bit of cash, make a few investments, and you’re all set. Dream about joining the bomb squad? Go ahead; no one's stopping you. Want to sell homemade sodas by the side of the highway? Why not? Go for it. The window of opportunity never closes.

    But while our futures are unhindered by legal restrictions, they remain fraught with social consequence. We are under extraordinary pressure to make one of the Three Choices: doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. A career in any one of these areas is supposedly a golden ticket to prestige, money, and power—all the “important things” in life. As far as these options are concerned, though, I have no future whatsoever. The sight of blood makes me queasy; I freeze up while giving speeches; I can only sell my candy apples through a combination of self-purchasing and blackmail. I think I can safely assume that I’m doomed.

    I've always wondered who sets the guidelines for success. Maybe there's a group out there responsible for creating a worthiness grading scale, a set of criteria based on annual income, profession, and Porsche ownership. In spite of my shortcomings, I think of myself as a reasonably intelligent person—certainly not someone destined for failure. But according to the current social standard, I might as well start packing my bags right now.

    Selecting a career may seem like an intensely individual decision, one that has minimal, if any, impact on others, but in reality it generates quite a ripple effect. Suppose that tomorrow, en route to my house, I am unexpectedly hit by a car. As I lie in the hospital, flitting in and out of consciousness, my indifferent doctor tosses me some morphine and leaves. Later, when I file a lawsuit against the driver, I’m stuck with an attorney more concerned about his next paycheck (which he’ll receive regardless of the suit’s outcome) than upholding my rights on judicial grounds. When I return to work at Corporation A, I find out that my boss let the business slide, can no longer afford to keep all his employees, and has fired me as a result.

    A title, sans passion, is an empty word. A diploma, without dedication, is a sheet of paper tacked to the wall. Simply having the name or the degree is not enough. Our future should not be determined by the unhappy medical students wishing they had pursued their real ambitions, but by those whose love for the subject shines through in a genuine and inspirational way. Look around, and you can easily pick out the next generation of pioneers. The FBLA officer who has been following the stock market since she was twelve. The student who, after mastering AP Biology, hopes to someday master the art of saving lives. The brilliant debater who believes with all his heart that the U.S. Constitution is the best document ever written.

    Maybe it’s time for us to redefine success. We’ve measured achievement in terms of social acceptability for so long that we’ve neglected the factors that really matter: sacrifice, determination, and a profound love for what you do. I admit that I’ve fallen into that trap as well. Sometimes I feel like cracking open a law book just so I won’t feel so left out. But regardless of my apparent conformity, you can be certain that when NASA starts recruiting for its first Mars mission, I'll be first in line.

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