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Open to all suggestions

| Monday, November 16, 2015

“What? You’re majoring in history and math?”

“… Interesting …”

“So what exactly do you plan to do with that again?”

To all those who have asked me this question, today I can announce with complete and utter confidence: I don’t know.

Perhaps I should qualify. It’s not so much that I don’t know as I don’t want to know. Ever since I first came to Notre Dame, I’ve been putting off trying to find an answer to the dreaded question of what I want to do with my life. During my time here, I’ve generated rather a nice list of jobs I can rattle off whenever someone asks: lawyer, historian, journalist, consultant, entrepreneur — the list goes on. And for the most part, my list satisfies — at least temporarily — whoever is wondering. The real problem is that it doesn’t satisfy me.

This is not to say that I don’t want to be a lawyer, that I can’t see myself as a historian, that I would rather not find a job as a journalist, a consultant or an entrepreneur. Quite the opposite, actually — I want to be and do all of those things. I want to stand inside a courtroom, channeling Jack McCoy as I assert that the jury should return a ruling of guilty. I want to travel to sites of historical importance, making some ground-breaking discovery after months of seemingly fruitless research. I want to relay the news instead of receiving it passively; to solve problems and analyze outcomes; to start my own business and experience the thrill that accompanies risking your money and your pride. I want all of it, and I can’t bear to think I must limit myself to just one path.

I had the same trouble choosing my major freshman year, which is how I wound up with the — I’ll admit, rather strange — combination of history and math. I couldn’t decide between the humanities and sciences, so I picked a major in each. I wanted to major in all the humanities, so I settled upon one that seemed to include a little bit of each: history. I was wavering between the course offerings of the science department, and finally chose math, the logic being that every one of the sciences relies upon math to some extent. Choosing history and math was my way of not choosing, of keeping my options open, of delaying the moment when I would have to decide more definitively the course of my life and in so doing, close myself off to my other interests.

But now, nearly halfway through junior year, that moment when I will have to decide is drawing nearer, and I am still no closer to an answer than I was coming in freshman year. The plan for now? To continue my policy of denial and indecisiveness and hope inspiration will strike me sometime in the near future. I’m open to any and all suggestions.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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