“Any road will get you there.”

Earlier this week while my students were working on their final projects, I asked a senior what she was planning on doing after graduation.  She explained that she was going to an acting/comedy school.

Then she instantly began justifying herself, as if her decision was somehow wrong.

When I asked her why she was doing that, she paused a moment before explaining that quite a few people had made her feel like this decision wasn’t quite good enough; she’s smart, so others feel she should be going to a traditional college program.

However, she is funny, a natural performer and clearly excited about this program.

At the end of class, she stopped to say thanks for not telling her what she should be doing.  After my struggle over the past few years to figure out what I want to do when I grow up, I would never in a million years tell her what she should be doing.

How would I know?

I just figured out what I want to do, and I’m in my forties!  I envy her.  She’s 18 and has a clear vision for her future; she’s not succumbing to pressures to get a “real” education and find a “real” job.

I’ve been thinking of this conversation for the past two days.

We put so much pressure on kids to go to college, get a job, and follow a “traditional” path, whatever that is.

But I think instead, we should pressure them to find their passion, explore their strengths, and confidently reject everyone else’s “you should” comments.

Lewis Carroll wrote, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”  Most of us need to try out lots of roads to figure out our there, but some know early on.

Let’s let them go there, guilt free, and encourage the others to try out as many roads as they possibly can.

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  1. Donna Swanson on May 20, 2011 at 4:41 am

    I absolutely admire your wisdom in regard to the high school student’s future. I don’t think I had that understanding when I was in my 40’s. (I’m a slow learner).

    I also wish I had been able to be that open-minded with my own daughter. At times I was disappointed that she did not have the same dream I had (bachelor’s, master’s degrees, etc.) Amy, try to remember your attitude about this high school student when your own children choose their futures. I regret tremendously that I was unable to do that.

    If you have the opportunity to follow this girl’s future, please keep me/us posted.

  2. Donna Swanson on May 20, 2011 at 4:42 am

    P.S. I meant to tell you (and Becky) how grateful I am that Becky sent me to your blogs! They are the greatest!

  3. Debra Mae on May 20, 2011 at 4:59 am

    Two thumbs up Amy! Your students are lucky indeed to have you in their corner.

  4. Cory Shrecengost on June 30, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Dear Mrs. Isaman,
    This is perhaps the coolest Oratory topic I could think of. Why haven’t I heard this before?

    • Amy Isaman on June 30, 2011 at 9:27 pm

      Ummmm, because I never thought of it? But I think you’re right, it could be a great speech. You might just be the one to write that great speech!

      • Cory Shrecengost on June 30, 2011 at 9:35 pm

        It’s on my list of oratory topics to consider now haha

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