Aim for the board
Kevin Noonan | Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Fr. Jenkins famously said in his 2005 inaugural address, “Let no one ever again say that we dreamed too small.” With due respect to the University’s president, and without taking anything away from his message, I’d like to add an addendum of my own here, in what will almost definitely be my last ever column in The Observer, after four years of mostly meaningless ramblings on arts and entertainment ⎯ let no one ever say we dreamed too specifically, either. Or, in my own voice of mediocrity ⎯ don’t aim for the bullseye, aim for the board.
On one of my first days at Notre Dame, my older, wiser sister gave me a call to remind me of the one purpose she’d given me for my college career ⎯ “Kevin, you’re there to meet girls. That’s it.”
This was a much-repeated refrain in my conversations with her throughout my time here. If that was all I dreamed of out of my college career, I’ve probably fallen short of her expectations (although I don’t think she really minds). I got caught up in some other things.
I enrolled at Notre Dame as an aerospace engineering major. Four years ago, I had no doubt in my mind that I would be headed to graduate school and/or NASA right about now and doing some awesome stuff with planes and space and stuff. I lasted three days. If my dreams were limited to NASA, I’ve probably failed. But you never know.
From there, I picked up business and eventually marketing, because I thought public relations and communications sounded like an awesome career based on Toby Ziegler and Josh Lyman in “The West Wing.” And also, I figured marketing had the least amount of math in the business school. I poured my soul into working in PR, following politics, hoping to find my way into a speechwriting position somehow some day. A few months later, I received not one but three separate rejection letters from Fleishman Hillard from my one application. I figured maybe this whole thing wasn’t for me.
At that point, halfway through my first semester of my junior year, not having any idea what I wanted to do with my life other than that it was definitely not what I’d done up to that point, I reevaluated my dreams. What did I really want to do? What did I want from my life?
I came to the liberating realization that I had no idea, so I might as well try anything that sounded interesting. And so in the last year, I’ve done just that, and I still have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m having a ton of fun doing it. My dream is to just keep doing, and see where that takes me.
As a senior in college with no direction or expertise other than four years experience of what not to do, that’s my advice to anyone else who cares. Don’t aim for the bullseye, aim for the board. It’s a lot more fun.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.