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The fine art of minding your own business

Cara Keith, Features Editor

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Minding your own business is an art form that many people find difficult to grasp. This technique is something that should be practiced in most walks of life, although I admit there are many situations where it is absolutely necessary to stop minding your own business and speak up in order to prevent negative things from happening. However, a specific instance where I believe it is very necessary to mind your own business is when it comes to the academic choices of your peers. It’s easy to compare your own academic path with the academic path of someone else and even easier to make negative judgments towards others on different career paths, but doing so only creates a negative learning environment.

For me personally, this has taken shape in the form of, “Oh. You’re an English major? So… you just like writing papers and stuff? What are you going to do with that?” The amount of times that family members, friends, acquaintances, and people I have never met before in my life have prodded me to reveal the specific position I intend to work in after graduation is countless. I know I am not alone in this experience and I also know that there are many other majors who experience similar reactions when they reveal their study paths. Anyone who has experienced this type of interaction before knows how disheartening it can be when someone perceives your career goals to be insufficient.

“Quantifying areas of study by their ability to produce objective success is a detrimental mindset because it prioritizes tangible achievements over personal fulfillment.”

-Cara Keith (‘21)

Quantifying areas of study by their ability to produce objective success is a detrimental mindset because it prioritizes tangible achievements over personal fulfillment. This should be obvious but since people still feel the need to think poorly of certain academic paths, I’ll say it again. Mind your own business. Allow people the freedom to explore the choices that excite them and pursue the things that make them passionate because personal fulfillment is something we should all strive for whether we’re math majors, philosophy majors, history majors, or pursuing any other study.

Equally as important is the need for us all to mind our own business when it comes to comparing our own academic success to the academic success of our peers. It’s true that Luther students are high achievers and it can be extremely discouraging to watch our peers achieve their lofty goals while it feels like we struggle to achieve our own. However, if we mind our own business, then we can focus on taking the steps needed to achieve our desired goals instead of getting dispirited at the success of those around us.

Minding our own business academically allows us to define what it means to be successful on our own terms. That’s how we can let our academic passion guide us through our lives rather than allow our lives to be dictated by the judgments of others. Mind your own business so that we can all flourish during our time at Luther.    

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