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A cautionary tale

Casey Quinlan | Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tonight my most meaningful class, a discernment seminar, ended, so I feel I should write something about my chosen path so far. This is not simply a self-indulgent piece about the beautiful journey (or marathon/box of chocolates/insert cliché here) of life. This is a cautionary tale.

Students are flocking to Mendoza in record numbers, avoiding less “practical” majors because the economy has gone to hell and even educated, skilled people can’t put food on the table, let alone fulfill their ambitions. However, if business is not your passion, you are hurting yourself and the world by ignoring your vocation in favor of the “safe” option.

(Also, news flash: there is no safe option; you never know what might happen in life.)

This is not a “let’s bash the business school” letter. Going into business is not the only way to ignore what actually moves you (and if business is what moves you, go for it!).

My greatest Notre Dame regret is not being a Peace Studies major. I would likely have had to drop a major, and I felt it wasn’t worth “wasting” the credits and starting fresh.

I was also running scared from a less “practical” major. I don’t lose sleep over this, but I will always wonder if I made that decision for the right reasons.

The decisions each of us make and the passions to which we decide to devote our lives affect other people in significant, albeit subtle ways. Had I chosen peace studies, I might be more able to work for social justice, as I hope to do in some way for the rest of my life.

As an English and Spanish major, I have plenty of opportunities to do meaningful service, and many careers could be fulfilling for me, so I am not saying only one path is right. I am simply asking you to search within yourself, with your Higher Power’s help, if you have one, before making the major decision of choosing your major.

Bad puns aside, I hope you will consider taking the road less traveled or whichever road you feel best suits you.

Casey Quinlan


Lyons Hall

Nov. 10