The Importance of Ditching Class
November 3, 2014
Blogger: Samuel Wylie
As a kid, I had roughly five ideas of what an adult could be: a teacher, a doctor, a firefighter, an astronaut, or the president. Obviously, this list was longer by the time I entered college at Occidental, but I still felt rigid in my own thinking: film majors become filmmakers, chemistry majors become chemists, psychology majors become psychologists….
If this were true, society would collapse. Yet, as an Art History and Group Language double major, I found myself believing I needed to become an art historian or a work as a translator. I dreaded conversations at the holidays when someone would inevitably ask, “Oh, art history… and what are you going to do with that?”
If anyone ever asks you this question, I hope you say that you’re going to burn your diploma, pirate a sailboat, and point it toward Tahiti. The reality is that our options are innumerable, but often we can only see the most obvious path.
So today, I would like to tell you, youth of this world, to ditch your classes. Don’t get me wrong, I love my school. The classes I’ve taken at Occidental have blown my mind one hundred times and counting. Oxy’s professors have guided me in directions I never thought existed, and the student body is outstandingly collaborative. But in formal educational settings, it can be hard to learn beyond the curriculum.
Enter: Los Angeles. One of the reasons I chose Occidental originally- and one of the reasons I still love it today- is its location in the city. Los Angeles is a city built on the premises of speculation and fantasy, qualities that are still evident today. Beyond the clichés about superficiality and traffic, my city is a testament to American diversity. Because Los Angeles has grown concentrically from distinct centers, each neighborhood has its own personality. To travel through these communities is to travel through a dozen different histories.
I cannot claim that I engage in educational activities every time I ditch class to explore the city, but my experience with Los Angeles has been an education in itself. Through my interactions, I have become fascinated by how a metropolis functions, evolves, and affects its residents. As a result, I can now see myself going in many directions, some that relate to my majors but even more that do not. Los Angeles has opened my eyes to a million new ways to live, a million professions I never considered. My future is limited only by my imagination.