To Be, or [What] To Be?

WHAT SHOULD I BE

This is a terrifying phrase. It’s the one we laugh about as youngsters. We say fireman or doctor or pilot and dance around and forget about it until we’re almost 20 and need to… decide. What do be? What to do with my life? Where to start?!

I’m lucky. I am a rather (but not very) affluent, middle-class white male with an excellent high school education and an opportunity to study at an elite university. I am good at many things, but mostly because opportunities have been provided for me. Piano lessons, running shoes, endless familial encouragement- these things have come together to give me enormous privilege. I know it. The question is then, what should I do with this privelidge?

My goal in life, which I’ve known since I was very young, is to do the greatest good for the greatest number. This is a goal that is completed differently for each individual because we all have different strengths that allow us to contribute in vastly different (and important ways). For example, I do not know how to fly a plane, but someone who has been trained to be a pilot can contribute hugely to the world by transporting thousands of people across continents safely. I do not know nearly enough to become a doctor, but doctors contribute hugely to the world by helping thousands of individual people to retain their health and live a healthy life. How can I, personally, best contribute to the world in which I live?

For a long time, I wanted to be a doctor. Simply, (arguably, of course) it is the most direct way to help a lot of people. I have read books, books, books, about being a doctor, shadowed physicians, taken (intro) Biology, Chemistry, and Physics (3/5 of the Pre-med course load at Wesleyan) and dedicated an enormous effort to determining whether this track is correct for me.

It’s not. My skills wax creative; I am not good enough at the brunt learning that doctors must undergo. Or maybe I am capable of it (for I truly love learning), but I am harassed by too much other motivation. I am good at a certain “skills.” I am good at persuasion, inspiring people, leading, thinking creatively, digital art, music/audio manipulation, teaching/instructing, and others. I am a bit of an intense person. To circumvent a host of self-exploration and gut-spilling on the internet, I will just reveal my “plot” so-to-speak: I wish to become an entrepreneur.

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