Until you try

This afternoon, I attended the last of a series of meetings with various professors in hopes of finding a research supervisor. The professor that I spoke with today said something that really stuck out in my mind: “You can be the most intelligent person in the world, but if you choose to not do anything with that intelligence, you will never change anything; Einstein wouldn’t be known for his work had he sat back and done nothing.”

—————

Throughout high school and even in post-secondary, I have watched and continue to watch some of the most intelligent kids sit back and choose to do nothing with their education. While I respect them and their decision to do that, as perhaps that is all they want to do, I see so much potential melting away. These kids have the potential to influence others and to create change. They have the potential to create groundbreaking technology or to contribute to the solution to global warming. Perhaps their potential includes raising a child who is able to do these things. The fact is, you never know what you have the potential to do, and that is why it is always important to put your best foot forward.

I say that you never know your potential, because I thought that I’d go university, get my undergraduate degree, go to dental school, get my graduate degree, start my career, get married, have kids, and continue on with what is deemed by society to be a “normal” life. While I still don’t see anything wrong with this plan, and I would be satisfied with sticking to that plan, that’s not how life always works out.

For one, I realized that I hate science—that’s a pretty big issue for someone who wants to be a dentist. Then, I dabbled in nearly every discipline until I finally found my passion: sociology, but more specifically, criminology. As I describe to anyone who asks me why I’m working towards a criminology degree: “Because I find myself leaning forward and smiling at the professor during lecture. I find myself voluntarily reading ahead in my textbooks. I’m doing it because I love it.” And when they ask me what I plan on doing with a criminology degree: “I don’t know. I can do anything with it. I’m going to go where life takes me.”

What I love the most about my degree path is that it’s so open. I can do anything; the world is my oyster. I had no idea that I’d end up in sociology, and I especially didn’t know that I’d have two papers on route to being published or that I’d be presenting my very own research at two different symposiums by the end of my second year. But the reason I’ve ended up here is because I put my best foot forward. I gave everything that I did 110% of my energy and effort.

I’m not saying: “This is me, and I’m great”. I’m saying that you do not know what you are capable of until you try. Always strive to succeed, and you will one day get there.

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