2018 Senior Reflections: Embracing the Unplanned

Ayushi Agarwal, Photo Editor

Ayushi Agarwal, Photo Editor

Embracing the Unplanned

By Monica Lefton

On Aug. 26, 2014 at 10:12 a.m., a freshman reportedly arrived at Emory University’s Oxford College campus with no idea of what to study. Before Emory’s elimination of their journalism major, she wanted to study journalism. Despite this hitch and the absence of an Oxford print newspaper, the student told officers she liked to plan and intended to do so while at Emory. Her enrollment two days later included her taking logic and political science — neither of which she would study further. Four years after the initial call, she reported her willingness to plan missing. This willingness to plan was last seen Spring 2017, when she intended to study abroad and found her major’s program momentarily suspended. This case has not been assigned to an investigator because the student requested time to adjust to the uncertainty of life.

When I started college at Oxford, I had no idea what I wanted to study or where I would be in four years, but in attempt to keep calm and “Ox-cited,” I told myself I had time to carefully plan each step.

I tried my hand at a wide range of (non-STEM) classes and ultimately (and unsurprisingly) declared as an English major. But, it made a huge difference to not be locked into something from the start.

Painful to some, Emory’s liberal arts curriculum is invaluable. Taking courses in education, economics and women’s, gender and sexuality studies alongside English created a richness that any depth of degree planning couldn’t have promised. An ideal Emory experience hinges on following interests and taking courses outside your major.

Stepping foot on the Atlanta campus in 2016, I was still convinced I could plan things. Disappointed in the suspension of the English summer abroad program at first, I soon accepted a nongovernmental organization internship position in Udaipur, India. I didn’t plan it, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

Even releasing yourself from small plans and expectations is nice. Last Monday, I waited 15 minutes at Clairmont just for a shuttle to arrive as “Not In Service.” Slightly peeved, I walked to campus and came to really enjoy my time outdoors. As I leave Emory, I’ll miss these small obstacles and unknowns with the Emory guarantee that it’ll work out.

If my time at Emory has taught me anything, it’s that life isn’t straightforward or something you can easily plan. In moments of difficulty, I first blamed Emory, but, in reality, the University is what helped me to do such wonderful things and become the person I am. Emory’s been a wild ride I couldn’t have imagined — the people, the classes, the memes. Looking back, I’m grateful for the twists; it’s kept me active, made me stronger and created the unique Emory experience we all search for. So stay on your toes, Eagles. You never know where you’ll land, but I promise it’ll be worth it.

Monica Lefton is from Decatur, Ga., and served as the Wheel’s crime beat reporter. She will remain in Atlanta after graduation as a diversity fellow at FleishmanHillard.