Monday, March 24, 2008

Questions to Reconsider Until Answered

I spent the last week on what seemed like the never-ending college campus tour. I have twin daughters who are juniors in high school and we spent their spring break looking for potential college matches for them. They are quite different from one another even though they are twins, and even though they look almost identical. The most common question we were asked used to be how do you tell them apart? Now we are most commonly asked do they want to go to the same college? The answer is unequivocally that they do not want to go to the same college; they are ready to be apart, or so they think, for the first time in their life.

I was given a gift of sorts at one of the college info sessions. Questions and the importance of questioning was the topic on my mind as I listened to the admissions officer at Boston College give the prospective students advice in choosing a college. Her advice was most likely lost on the 17 and 18 year olds in the room, but it was meaningful to me. She said upon embarking on this big transition in your life, you should consider three important questions. 1) What do you do that brings you joy? 2) What are you good at? and 3) Does the world need you to do it?

It's not that these questions are dismissed by the young adults. Instead, you have to have lived for a while and tried out a number of things until you can answer these questions. Here is the hard part. Once you can answer them, can you organize your life accordingly? Can you give yourself permission to pursue what brings you joy, what maximizes your strengths and what nourishes the world around you? I think too often we get on a track that just pays the bills or give us a certain class standing. The joy and the meaning become long ago lost.

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