After high school, I took a gap year before starting at Champlain College in 2012. I worked, I traveled, and read about spiritual and religious traditions, psychology, and human development, trying to understand what it meant to be human - and what it meant to be me.
I also wrote an album. “A World of Dreams” was my coming-of-age story that I immaturely thought was already over.
Through these experiences, I gained a sense of clarity and self-confidence that propelled me into my freshman year, studying Social Entrepreneurship. I chose this unique major because I cared deeply about my community and the future of our world and I thought starting a business would be a creative pursuit I could maintain my independence in.
Throughout the Fall, I had versions of the classic Freshman conversation: “What dorm do you live in? Where are you from? What’s your major? Why’d you choose that?” The last question was where I found myself consistently surprised. No one seemed too sure about their choice. There was a lot of “it seemed easy or my parents did it or idk it seems cool”. It was alarming considering Champlain is a private college with an out-of-state tuition of $50,000+. I met exceptions, and my data was skewed by the fact that I was surrounded by a lot of kids studying business - a classic fallback major - but still, it was a frightening realization.
Of course, I shouldn’t have been surprised, as no one reading this is likely surprised. Most of us leave high school without a clear idea of what we want our lives to look like. But having just spent a year studying the human experience and self-reflecting, I felt I was witnessing a quiet crisis.
Without understanding ourselves, we don’t understand what we need, if we don’t understand what we need, we will make poor choices - such as spending 4 years and a couple hundred thousand dollars studying something that won’t bring us purpose and joy.
So, with a bit of hubris, naively thinking I could do something about this problem, I started a club called “Do You”. A few friends and I got together to reflect and get to know ourselves more deeply. It started strong, then fizzled, as I got preoccupied with silly things like passing classes and partying - clearly, I wasn’t as enlightened as I thought.
But after making my decision to leave school in the spring of 2013 to actually start a business instead of studying how to start one, I remembered the simple beauty of those conversations we had at “Do You”. I wrangled my friends together once again, and this time, gave them each a Flower.