Day 10: Anna and the Advisor

“So what do you think you’ll want to study in college?”

I quickly looked at my advisor before darting my eyes back to the walls of his office. I didn’t want to answer his question because I wasn’t sure how to respond.

Having attended an academically rigorous high school filled with talented and intelligent peers, I became convinced of my own mediocrity—and that opinion of myself brought a high degree of uncertainty on what I desired to accomplish in my future.

As a senior about to enter college without passions or dreams, the next four years seemed like a lot of aimless wandering and sifting through nothingness.

Whenever I thought about my shapeless future, I only felt sure of one thing.

“I… don’t really know what I want to study in college… or what I want to become,” I said slowly. “All I really know is… that I want to help people somehow.”

I bit my lip nervously, waiting for my advisor to tell me I was doing something wrong. Knowing some of the driven and accomplished students who had him as an advisor, I couldn’t help but think that he must have heard far more detailed and impressive plans that day.

“That—”

Oh, man, here it comes. Maybe I should have lied and made up something more specific.

“—is the—”

He’s going to tell me I’m messing up somehow.

“—best thing I’ve heard all day.”

What?

I shifted my gaze back towards my advisor in surprise. From the sincerity in his eyes, I could tell he meant what he had just said.

“Really, it’s the best thing I’ve heard,” he said. “It’s okay if you don’t know what you want to do, but having that sort of desire is really great.”

We went on to discuss some minutiae regarding senior year and then I walked out of his office, still a little astounded at his response.

Years later, this memory stays with me. Whenever I start to feel unsure about my future or passions, it reminds me of what I want to ultimately accomplish in the grand scheme of things. In whatever way possible, be it big or small, I want to help others.

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