Below the Belt

Forget Being Realistic—It’s Okay to be Wildly Ambitious

Recently, I went on a job interview and upon looking at my resume the interviewer noted,

“I see you have a Bachelor of Arts degree. Does that mean you studied the arts, like drawing?”


What do you say to a question like that without seeming pompous or rude? Thankfully, I was able to stifle my laughter and replied,

“Not exactly. I have ‘Bachelor of Arts’ degree because my particular area of study while in college, focused on liberal arts. Had I taken more science classes, I could have obtained a Bachelor of Science. However, given that I am an English major, I think a Bachelor of Science in English seems a bit foolish.”

She just looked at me and said: “Well, congratulations.” I’m not even sure if she knew what she was congratulating me for.

These are the questions that you do not expect to have to answer upon completing your college degree. One does not expect to be interviewed by someone who presumably has no degree. One also so does not expect to work for someone who does not have a degree. Unfortunately, hundreds of educated minds are wasting away in blue collar jobs in work environments where their degrees are not being utilized and their brains are vegetating as their everyday life is free of stimulating conversation.

I keep thinking “I need to figure out what I’m going to do with my life” My lease ends in June. If I don’t find a job by then, I’m going to have to pack up and move back home to the East coast–to be quite frank, I’m not completely opposed to the idea, but I’m not completely for it either. Some part of me feels like I should be panicking, but I’m actually quite calm about the whole ordeal.

I’d like to find a job and make some money,  but I’m not in a rush to lose a portion of my soul to corporate America; the land of suits, and ties, neutral wardrobes, and minimal style. Perhaps I’m naive, but I genuinely believe there is something great in store for me life something beyond corporate America and working for someone else.

I suppose this is where my issue with the education system lies. College is a period of discovery. It’s a time of experimentation, of creativity, and extraordinary conversation. It’s four–sometimes five…okay, sometimes six–years of pushing the norm, trying new things, and learning how you, in particular, are uniquely different from, yet strikingly similar to all of the world’s inhabitants. And then you graduate, and all of a sudden, in many ways, you are expected to bottle up your individuality and sell it to the highest bidder in a spruced up deluxe package on parchment in the form of a cover letter and resumé. Your conversations then turn from those striking Honor’s College conversations you once had about Plato’s Apology and the impact of Billie Holiday, to tired work jokes in the break room about how your boss’ tie is always too short.

My favorite college professor once told me,

“Many people live their lives without expecting great things to be in store for them; not realizing that, that is a self-fulfilling prophecy. There’s no reason that you shouldn’t be wildly ambitious in your life, but to do that you have to take everything that you do seriously. Have a sense of taking some control over your life as opposed to feeling buffeted. To make your fortune, you need to have faith in yourself.”

I’ve thought of those words of wisdom every day since I first heard them. Perhaps that’s why I’m not worried or scared–I’m too busy praying for guidance and being wildly ambitious.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


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