Pursuing callings in uncertain times

Questioning the importance of pursuing an academic career amidst a pandemic


Illustration by Marissa Lordahl

Angela Ide, Opinions Editor

Since the age of kindergarten nap times, ABC’s and reading circles, children are put on a track for learning and racing to the proverbial education finish line by walking across the graduation stage to receive a high school diploma.

This ingrained and systemic rat race works well for some students and learning models, but for many, that is not always true.

The downfall of this treadmill of measured success is that once someone starts running, it’s hard to know when to quit. There are plenty of programs aimed at pushing high school students into early college careers; Advanced Placement, College in High School, Honors, and Running Start Programs being a few.

With so many ways to seamlessly transition to secondary education, there is little time to challenge these processes. But a global pandemic causing a collective pause creates such an opportunity.

With plans being derailed left and right, it makes everyone wonder if even the best-laid plans are really worth seeing to fruition. Have these tracks been laid so a goal can be reached or because someone said they should be?

If the answer is society told a generation that secondary education is necessary to reach success, then some real consideration is needed. No matter what degree, career, position, or award that someone receives, if those are someone else’s goals, those accolades are empty.

But, if someone has made an informed commitment to pursuing their passions, callings, and ambitions, then a turbulent year cannot distract or disrupt those deep-seated goals. Situations or circumstances may have shifted or delayed plans, but those dreams have not been lost.

So, as students reconsider the driving forces behind their choices, honestly stare at their face in the mirror. Whose dreams are being pursued and who decided this was the way to pursue them?

With the expenses of a four-year university and the rush of freshmen and transfer students rejuvenating the mystery and wonder of learning, this is the perfect chance to recenter perspectives and rediscover passions.

That might mean a trade school creates a better-fitted path to the career. Maybe there are programs and internships that lead more directly into a job field, than an accredited degree. With so many possibilities, it would be foolish to only know one way of “succeeding”.

At the beginning of the job experience, every candidate has either gained the knowledge, skills, and practice needed to confidently enter their careers of choice or not; and a degree is no sure-fire indicator of that.

Let this pandemic be used for the good of students across the country and the good of the country’s future workforce. Let one of the many impact points of COVID-19 be the refining and strengthening of this generation.