by Nick Baez
As spring takes firm root across the country, many familiar scenes arise. Baseball season kicks off to the excitement of many, the predictable NBA playoffs begin, and folks can once again drive with their windows down. For many of our community’s high school seniors, the arrival of spring is also accompanied by the excitement of the college decision-making process, as offers from various universities start to arrive by mail.
By now, those of you for whom this article applies are finalizing your decisions with family and friends, and are looking forward to a future full of opportunity and inner growth. As someone who works year-round with students just like you, it gives me great joy to see our future as a community rest in your very hands. So as you begin to make a final choice on which institution of higher learning you’d like to attend, I wanted to give you some words of wisdom to contemplate for the next few years.
While you consider your college choice, realize that you are a consumer of the process. As a result, you should place more importance on what the college can provide for you, rather than vice versa. Remember not to let the process of navigating the world of higher education take control of you; but instead, realize that your future is whatever you craft it to be.
While at college, ask yourself the following: will you simply absorb and regurgitate whatever you learn in class, or will you see the experience as an opportunity to examine your beliefs for meaning and justification? Will you devote your life to being a rule-maker or a rule-follower? Rather than viewing the college process as a way to achieve status through obtaining a diploma, pay more attention to learning how to effectively navigate systems and become a more socially conscious global citizen, so that you may seek to make the world a better place for all who inhabit it. Hence, you must resist the temptation to be defined by what you do (i.e., your field of study). Such a mindset restricts your ability to be prepared for a globalized world and increases the likelihood that you will simply see yourself as just another part of the labor force, rather than as someone who galvanizes citizens under a common vision.
And finally, your biggest challenge will be to think critically, boldly, and creatively. Realize that although your ideas may be met with animosity and branded as “radical” by those who feel a secure kinship with the status quo, your ideas are nonetheless essential to our advancement and growth in the 21st century, and they will invariably provide the future directions that will define the trajectory of the community. Most importantly, know that you are all gifts to this community, and it is with pride that we all say to you: congratulations.
To learn more about Nick, find him on Facebook.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those
of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.