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A piece of paper can’t define you | The Triangle

A piece of paper can’t define you

Photo credits courtesy of Staff Sgt. Kayla Rorick at N.H. Air National Guard

If I asked you to describe yourself in under 10 minutes, would you be able to tell me something that your resume wouldn’t?

Today, with competition and stress being at an all-time high, students across the world are trading their interests and hobbies for glamorous internships or flashy shadowing opportunities. And for what? To polish a one-page paper that seems to define a student’s entire existence — a resume. I’m guilty of it, my friends are guilty of it, my parents can’t even escape it in the realm of their careers.

Sadly, we are all desperately trying to fit the mold of a “perfect, well-rounded student” and in doing so, we are losing the individuality that should make us appealing in the first place.

Just having gone through the college application process a year ago, I know all too well the feeling of being judged based on a piece of paper. Every interview and application drilled in my head that “well-rounded” really didn’t mean what it I thought it did. Nobody asked me about the art classes I took for 13 years, they simply inquired about my lab work from the previous summer. Not once was I asked about my interest in writing short stories, but I was always guaranteed to be asked about my latest internship position.

It seemed as though my entire life, all my short, beautiful moments, my random, quirky stories and my defining interests were overshadowed by a packet of paper that listed my superficial titles and awards. They barely scraped the surface of my experiences and accomplishments and rendered me flat, faceless and unfamiliar.

Relinquishing our passions in order to chase the misunderstanding that a fancy position is more worthwhile, diminishes us as nuanced humans.

There is no doubt that in life, we may have to give up a summer of traveling to hold a job or spend a spring break shadowing as opposed to relaxing; however, it should never become a habit. The unusual theater classes we take, the bands we play in and the afterschool art classes that provide us with a sliver of sanity are just as important, if not more important, for our well-being and our success.

Being happy and pursuing our interests should never clash with the need to improve a resume. And perhaps most importantly, our interests and hobbies should never be a source of guilt, only pleasure.

Maybe it’s time for all of us to live on the wild side. Trade in your legal pad for a paintbrush. Take off the suede dress shoes and put on your pair of worn out cleats instead. Experience the feeling of actual wind as opposed to a small desk fan. I guarantee the person behind the resume will thank you.