Walking into the building with striking red brick walls gave me chills. Perhaps it was the knowledge that I was entering a place of specialized, higher learning that was overwhelming to a college student like me, or the fruition of a dream coming true––only, it wasn’t my dream. It was my brother’s dream.
I’ve accompanied my brother to submit his application to a prestigious law school. We were very excited, soaking in all the good vibes of the place. As we passed the hallways and classrooms, it felt like they were calling to us––enticing us––proud of the years of intellect and hard work they had witnessed through the years. A bit dramatic, but it was really something big for our family.
Ever since my brother was a kid, it was always his dream to become a lawyer. Now his dream was within reach. Afterwards, we met up with our parents, still giddy and excited; we talked about how great the campus was.
But the next thing my mother said to me wiped the smile off my face. She blurted, “Maan, you need to start planning your own life.” I frowned. Her statement caught me off-guard. Having a “plan” has constantly been on my mind, but the difference was my mother’s words. They rang uncommonly loud.
My brother was off to law school. Incidentally, my younger sister, who has yet to graduate from high school, already has a plan. She plans to go to medical school. I, on the other hand, in my second year of college, have yet to figure out exactly what I want to do with my life. I just don’t understand why it is so hard for me to have a plan.
When I was a kid, I was the most imaginative among my siblings. I wanted to be a lot of things––a teacher, a writer, an actress, a news reporter, even a cashier.
Things don’t seem to have changed much since then, because I still feel like a little kid dreaming of being so many different things. That makes it even harder to decide on what I want to be.
It’s not that I lack ambition or goals; I’ve always been quite the achiever, ever since elementary and high school. I still get decent grades now that I’m in college.
It’s not that I lack hobbies or talents. I like to sing, I play the guitar, I like to write, I read books, and I watch movies. It’s not that I lack opportunity. I’m studying in one of the top universities in the country, and taking up a course I like. Still, somehow, nothing from all these adds up very clearly to help point me in a definite direction.
Many other students are probably going through the same struggle I’m experiencing. A lot of people my age are probably “stuck” with the same worries of an uncertain future. It brings comfort knowing this. However, I know I shouldn’t be complacent.
I should be more determined and driven to work towards a goal. I need to get rid of this unsettling feeling by consciously making things happen for myself. I need to stay optimistic.
I remember a scene from “Clueless,” a 1995 comedy film, where Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) was sitting at the dining table with her father (Dan Hedaya) and ex-stepbrother Josh (Paul Rudd). Her dad says to her, “I’d like to see you have a little bit of direction.” Cher grumbles, “I have direction…” Josh retorts, “Yeah, towards the mall.”
I don’t want to be like that! It’s still a little over two years before I graduate and enter the so-called real world, but I hope and pray that by the time I do, I won’t feel as lost as I do now.
I know that nothing in life will always be a sure thing. Not everything will go as planned. Uncertainty will always be present––it will follow you down the road no matter what you’ve achieved. But it never hurts to be determined, or keep something with you to help you stay on track at all times. Whatever that is that keeps you motivated or keeps you going, you just have to find out what it is. As of now, that is my game plan.
Maan Nitura, 19, is a BS Communications Technology Management student at Ateneo de Manila University. She likes reading period novels, listening to music, watching movies, TV series, and musicals. She dreams of traveling the world someday and having a successful career that makes her truly happy.