Right now I’m a feminist, a struggling atheist, a rookie writer, a bad artist, an undeclared freshman. I don’t know what I want to major in, what I want to be or what I want my future to look like. Right now, “the future” is a vague, grayish dot somewhere in the periphery of my radar. Acknowledging it scares me.
At the same time, I am so blessed to have the future as a grayish dot. It’s like running on a treadmill – the future is there in the distance, and has been for years, and I’m running – sprinting – to catch up to it. But it’s just there; it’s untouchable. I like that. I like not knowing where I’m going to live in five years, what job I’ll have, if I’ll get pets, if I’ll start to like babies or yoga. If I’ll ever get tired of the stars and lying in bed. I don’t think adulthood or the future will turn me into a whole different person, but it might, and that’s kind of exciting.
I don’t think the future is frightening, I just think it’s unknown. Right now, I, along with all other freshmen, am in an endless fountain of youth. We can change our minds, we can decide what we want with our futures, we can still be astronauts or presidents, CEOs or lawyers. We still have time to live out our childhood dreams if we so wish. In some ways, uncertainty isn’t a curse, it’s a blessing.
Sometimes, though, I crave the wisdom that comes from growing older. Right now, I’m learning how much I don’t know – how expansive the world is, how many options and limitations there are. I want to try everything, take everything, be everything, and it can be overwhelming.
For the longest time I’ve wanted to be a journalist. I love writing, not because I’m particularly good at it, but because it’s the only thing in school that I really loved. I feel like I can write better than I speak. But Stanford doesn’t have a journalism program, so now I’m undecided. I used to be an aspiring journalist, and now I’m confused, uncertain – maybe a political science major? Mainly confused. I’m questioning if I even want to write for a living; if I did, would I ever be good enough? It’s starting to feel like my dreams are just dreams, like I don’t have the time to pursue what I’m passionate about, like life is speeding up too fast or too slowly and I don’t know what I’m doing. Being undecided feels like a treadmill you can’t get off, and the end goal is a distance you don’t know or a time you can’t reach.
I’m undecided in what I believe. I have written about struggling with my faith before, but I’m struggling with the idea of struggling. I know sometime in the gray dot that is my future, I’ll come to terms with some belief system – or lack of one, now that I’m left reeling, staring at the stars, thinking about how much easier it would be if I knew there was something out there connecting the dots. But for the moment I’m undecided. And I know it’s a blessing to still have time to grow as a person, but I want peace. I’ve come to discover that indecision sometimes comes with sadness.
Indecision also comes with the right to say you can be president or a doctor or a lawyer. That you might go to graduate school or you might co-term. What I do know for sure is that the gray dot in the periphery of my vision is created by me. I’m in control. I create my future. The gray dot can turn into a beautiful spectrum of colors. It can be anything. That gives me hope.
Contact Natachi Onwuamaegbu at natachi ‘at’ stanford.edu.