OPINION: In pursuit of the right path


Matt Crow

FILE PHOTO: Wichita State student Evan Pflugradt blissfully scoots his way into graduation.

Graduate high school, go to college, earn a degree, hate your job, go back to college, get a master’s degree and, maybe, then you’ll know everything you need to reach the life milestones that your friends, family and teachers have always said will bring you happiness and success in life.

But, that most likely will not happen.

After all, we are consumers in the modern era. We want to be happy and we seek happiness in absolution. Once we fulfill the steps in life which external forces have set forth for us since the day we were born, then we will be whole, we will be complete.

Only then will we feel redeemed by our effort and our struggles, right?

We will then supposedly have enough money to live in luxury. We can buy clothes, cars and living accommodations that will make others envious of our current situation. We could all use more money, one way or another, but is this desire justified?

Throughout my life, I’ve interacted with many individuals who are removed from the realm of college life. I have always been interested in their perspectives because I fear that my own is faulty. I fear that my current perspective might set me down the wrong path.

I came to the conclusion that no path is the right path. You could do anything with your life, and if you don’t follow the constructs set by others, so be it. 

You are the only one in control of your fate.

As someone who has worked outside of the college experience and who has come crawling back to the same old desire of pursuing knowledge at an institution of higher learning, I feel that I have at least some perspective of the value of knowing what you are doing and why you are doing it at any given moment.

I sometimes struggled to find value in any of the things around me. I ponder and reflect on everything that I do, always asking myself, “Why do you do this? Is this act coming from your own thoughts, or is it a desire to fulfill constructs which will appease the masses and in turn, may appease you too?”

I ask myself these questions about college a lot. It is the reason that I have attended Hutchinson Community College, Newman University, Butler Community College, Johnson County Community College (where I received my Associate of Arts) and now finally stopped at Wichita State to pursue my bachelor’s degree.

To what purpose or aim will all my endeavors deliver me when complete?

I have more experience with pursuing different paths at colleges than I ever expected to have when graduating high school and all I have to show for it is a blind ambition to enjoy what I do with my own life.

I found the strength to endure through all my college trials by digging deep and being true to myself. Nothing external can be controlled as much as anything internal. I found ways to be positive through my thoughts and actions. Through endurance, I’ve been able to achieve great things.

During my struggles, I pursued many different avenues. I took multiple breaks from college to work full-time and the only thing that I have found value in is finding a pursuit that I will enjoy spending copious amounts of time learning and growing into.

I see my father work like a dog every day of his life and I admire him for it, but I do not want to be like him for one reason: he let life events dictate his path for him. He started working in a field that did not seem to value him and he’s never stopped working, whether it was for the pursuit of money, comfort or possessions. He began work in seemingly one of the biggest fields in Wichita, aircraft manufacturing. He progressed from sheet metal work at the age of 19 and is now a manufacturing engineer.

After watching him all of my life, I find no value in the pursuit of money and material possessions due to what I have seen in the lives of my own family, my friends and others. I now have only the desire to work on myself continuously and find my own enjoyment while still pursuing things that I am ultimately unsure will actually bring me that absolution.

The next time you go to class, think about why you are there. Try to think about every cent that you are spending by sitting there. Be very selective in how you spend your time and money. Be selective in your thoughts and actions, and ask yourself, “Am I following the path that I actually want to develop in?” This has helped me and it may help you.

Search for what matters to you and you alone. We may find ourselves on the wrong path from time to time, but if you question yourself regularly, you may just find that another path may be better for you to pursue. Don’t fear the unexpected.

You may find that what you are doing now is just one of many stepping stones that you will have to hurdle, no matter what, to get where you want in life.

Even if you do not value something at the moment, in the end, it may be the best thing for you.

Wrong or right, just keep your head up and endure.