Justin Guiffre: Defy conventions, do what you want

I hate writing welcome back columns, they are inevitably cheesy and cliche. Yes, you should study harder this semester. Yes, you should make sure to have a social life. Yes, you should balance a life of fulfilling work with equally fulfilling play. On and on columns that preach the above unfold in predictable and uninspired ways. Those columns are perfect for people who seek a life as engaging as last year’s Convocation. Instead, I want you to free yourself from that formula and do something crazy – even if you know you shouldn’t.

Be exhausted

In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “Determine never to be idle . . . It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing.” Your parents will tell you to get more sleep. As you finish up a paper, get ready for a party, or head off to your internship. In fact, you may give up the occasional Saturday sleeping for 14 hours straight. It’s completely worth it, you’ve only got so many years in college – or at all for that matter. Don’t miss a moment.

Ignore the rest

GW culture can be dogmatic in its approach to life. It says that we should take the most prestigious internship with the best networking possibilities, so we can get the high-paid job with even more prestige. It’s a problem of priority. Sometimes we think of our career as something that should be mechanical: in goes the right internship and out comes a bigger paycheck. Rather, we should be looking for the most interesting and dynamic opportunities possible. If you are spending 20 hours a week doing something, you should be damn excited to get out of bed for it. Otherwise, what’s the point? Do the thing that is most rewarding to you, no matter what anybody else says.

Make big, monumental mistakes

Without the occasional massive mistake we will never have equally massive success. We decide not to strike up conversation with the cute person sitting next to us in class, sure as we are in our insecurity. We write papers that conform to the opinions of our professors in fear of a lower grade. Instead we should seek our own conclusions, free of trepidation. Sometimes there is much more to learn from a B than an A. Sometimes there is much more to learn from a failure than a victory.

Let go of control

There are some things in your life that you have no control over. You may not get the job you know will be the perfect fit. You can’t tell people what to think of you. Friends and relationships are never static, so don’t try and force what isn’t there. Accept that no matter the effort you put into your ambitions, at times they will fall through. The important part is to never dwell on what you may have missed – spend your energy making sure you don’t miss it the next time.

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It is so easy to find a routine and stick with it, turning the daily in to the mundane. Shower, class, study, sleep, repeat. Before you know it, your college years become a prison routine closing you off from the world rather than exposing you to it. It happens when we do all of the things we’re supposed to all the time. Forget that. I’m going to spend my last year at GW making sure that the daily is fascinating and new, I suggest you do the same.

– The writer is a senior majoring in international affairs and was the former opinions editor for The Hatchet. He is now The Hatchet’s managing editor.

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