Change will come from everyone collectively, not individually

L. Elyse Quattlebaum

L. Elyse Quattlebaum

As a second semester junior, I find myself viewing my future differently than I did two years ago. Rather than asking, “What can you do with a Technical Writing degree?” Those around me ask, “What will you do with a Technical Writing degree?” And my answer: whatever career path I find that makes me feel satisfied. As I consider what that might be, my options seem to become more vague and disheartening.

When it comes down to it, I really just want to make a difference in the world. Throughout my college career, I have attempted to add majors that I felt would help me achieve this goal. It began with Nursing; by healing others and possibly bringing vaccines to areas of the world in need, it seemed like the best choice until the day I had to view a cadaver. I couldn’t even direct my eyes towards the gurney. Next was Spanish. I could teach English in impoverished areas and offer better lives to those I taught. This idea was dashed the day my Spanish professor asked me to hand in the assignment that I was unaware had even been assigned, due to my lack of fluency. My last double major attempt was journalism, which I found a bit too discouraging after being verbally harassed by a man frustrated by my questions regarding his soon to be published book.

As I enter into the second month of my pursuit of a single major and minor, I am forced to ask myself if I will be able to live a life that I am proud of following graduation. A sentiment found on the wall of my grandmother’s house echoes in my ears, “Leave everything a little better than you found it.” I consider my writing degree and the effects it will have on the world. I compare it to a marketing degree, a biology degree, or a theater degree. Which degree can change the world? The answer: none.

While all of these degrees, and the others offered at Southern, are major achievements, none can expect to solve the Fiji water crisis, factory farming, or the chemical weapon issue in Syria single-handedly. We must all use the skills that we are taught and the talents we are born with to make change the world. In order to cross a river, not one large rock, but rather many small stepping stones are required. Will I change the world, or those graduating with me, or you? No. But we will.