Shattering Expectations

Laura Beier

Shattering expectations. It’s a phrase that makes me picture writing “expectations” on the side of a glass bottle and smashing it on the edge of a table. It’s a saying that makes me want strut into a room and have all eyes on me, bewilderment on the faces of those watching. But most of all, it’s what anyone with a liberal arts education does every day.

It’s expected that those accepted to the “generic,” “unspecific,” college with “too many options,” don’t know what they’re doing with their life, and just want to sample a few classes like a cheese board, until they find the variety they hate least and go with that. These thoughts couldn’t be further from the truth. There is an overwhelming amount of liberal arts students, especially at the University of Minnesota, who are the most driven and goal-oriented people I know. Not only can we “think critically” about what’s happening around us (the most common advantage to a liberal arts education, apparently), but we can network across disciplines, engage in fascinating discussions, and challenge each other.

This past year, I’d like to think of myself as an example of this kind of student. I’m by far not the most involved, the most intelligent, or the most “put together,” but what liberal arts has shown me is to take as many opportunities as you can, and make the most of them. Juggling positions such as an account executive for CLAgency, managing editor for The Wake student magazine, and taking 17 credits, I sometimes wonder what it’s all for. Then I remember that I’m not just writing and interviewing and editing and scheduling for my future – I’m doing it for now. I’m filling my life with experiences that I enjoy, balancing academia and a social life, and it’s not only preparing me for what’s to come, but causing me to enjoy every moment.

For me, shattering expectations is not only filling your plate with experiences and opportunities and piecing together a puzzle that depicts a successful future, it’s enjoying each piece on the way. What’s shattering expectations to you?