Are you doing what you truly love? 

For whatever reason, I had always thought that the answer to that question could be answered easily and quickly. Whether it was track, student government or my major, I spent my first two years at Penn defining what I love by what everyone else expected me to do rather than what I truly wanted to do. 

If you’re like me, you find yourself passionate about a plethora of topics, but unsure how to explore them in four short years plagued with exams and homework. And while I’ve had a pretty satisfactory college experience so far, I often feel like I have yet to explore areas that I am passionate about because I simply do not know how or when. 

For a lot of reasons, I feel like this isn’t something limited to just me. I’ve seen students interested in finance shy away from history classes because they feel it will distract them for their work. I’ve seen athletes limit their extracurricular activities drastically simply in order to ease their semester. And even for myself, while I’m extremely interested in subjects like software technology and music, often I ignore those passions in order to stay focused on what I’m already committed to.

And while such commitments are fun and worthwhile, it took me far too long to realize it’s okay to redefine how I distribute the time I put into the areas I am passionate about. Because after all, while you always define what you love, what you love doesn’t always define you. 

Within our college experiences, we often limit ourselves to what we are already a part of and the social circles we are comfortable with. While it is easy to conform to that norm, we should all take initiative to step out of our comfort zones in order to discover areas that excite us in ways we never knew life could.

For example, if you are an upperclassmen, it is pretty safe to say that there is a huge chance you are not majoring in what you thought you would have been when you applied to the University of Pennsylvania and other respective colleges. In fact, within the College of Arts and Sciences “undecided” is the most popular intended major, as only around 30 percent of students are confident enough to indicate a major on their application. 

Even so, the major you have in college often has little to do with what you are going to do once with you graduate, as only about 27 percent of college graduates have jobs that relate to their major.

Within the fact that the majority of us aren’t majoring in what we thought we once would and will likely be employed in a field unrelated to our own is a simple truth: What you love can exist outside of what you do every day. We should spend our time exploring that, rather than ignoring it.

Whether academically, socially or professionally it’s unhealthy to limit your time at a school like Penn to what everyone else is doing and what you’re comfortable with. Many times in life the best benefits are rooted in initiatives we take simply out of our comfort zone in order to explore our passions in ways we never have before.  

So, be different. Utilize your time at Penn to explore areas that you never had before. Take a break from the pre-professionalism of on-campus recruitment and go to the show of the singer that lives in your hall. Budget time for a study break to finally join that one yoga club you keep hearing about. Spend your Thursday evening watching a special guest speak about a topic you haven’t yet explored. Because after all Penn is not just about improving the areas you are passionate about, but also exploring the areas you never knew you were passionate about.

As each and every one of us leaves Penn after four hectic years, there shouldn’t be one area of interest that we haven’t attempted to dive into. There are many students here that fill their requirements, take the respective classes for their major and float on by to graduate. However there are few who do so while exploring fields outside of their comfort zone. College isn’t only about exploring what you love through what you’re always comfortable doing, but also taking a step of discomfort to stretch what you are passionate about further than you’ve ever known.

CALVARY ROGERS is a College junior from Rochester, N.Y., studying political science. His email address is calvary@sas.upenn.edu. “Cal’s Corner” usually appears every Wednesday.

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