By KATHLEEN CARR
I was chatting with one of my friends recently about which colleges we’re considering and what we have planned for the future. After discussing her own post-graduation decision dilemmas, my friend commented that she knew of a girl at her school who has been accepted to Harvard and is planning to enroll in the fall. The Ivy League acceptee is driven to succeed, but in more ways than one. She has dreams of securing a medical degree and one day working as a doctor. At the same time, she is determined to be a great mom. My friend said that she admired this girl very much, not only for her academic achievements, but also for her inspiring outlook on life. It’s refreshing to hear of a person who isn’t focused only on being a Nobel Prize winner or the next president. In fact, it’s inspirational to know that someone realizes the value and importance of one of the toughest jobs on the planet.
This girl obviously recognizes that she has a chance to make a difference not only in the professional world but also in the life of another person. She appreciates the promise of the future and wants to be a part of it through the influence that she will have on her children. She emphasizes the priority of family in her life right now as well as in the distant future.
It seems these days that all highly motivated teen-agers have the same goal in mind: to find a successful profession and change the world while doing it. Not to say that this is a goal to be frowned upon, but it is one that can be unrealistic in today’s competitive society.
The pressure that teen-agers face from their parents and teachers is incredible; young people today live by the philosophy that they must be the best at everything. Sports, academics, clubs, and social activities fill their lives to the point that their schedules become dauntingly booked.
Sometimes I find myself caught up in all this competition, struggling to find something I’m good at that will earn a living and help people at the same time. This “something” is my vocation in life, a calling that I am unsure of. I am confident, though, that God has plans for me. My job is to determine exactly what those plans are.
Should I get married and raise a family? Should I enter the religious life? Would it be better if I lead a vocational life as a single lay person? What does God intend for me? I spend a lot of time thinking about my future and where life will take me. Then I remember that I don’t have to decide on my future before I’ve lived my present; part of my faith is that I trust that God will show me the path that he knows is right for me … in time.
In today’s diligent and demanding society, it’s frustrating not to know what is going to happen next in my life. There’s a part of me that wants to understand right now what my purpose is and what God has in mind for me. However, there’s also a part of me that is grateful for the time that I have now to explore my true mission in life. Despite all the uncertainties that I face as a teen-ager, I am convinced of one thing: No matter what I ultimately decide on, I am always called to serve.
Written by Kathleen Carr, a junior at Bishop England High School, who is also editor of the student newspaper there.