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From Delaware to Peru: Finding your passion takes some exploration

I visited Seton Hall on one of those bitter February days when campus is dead. I tried not to stare at the tri-level of Xavier that reminded me on first glance of prison cells as my mom drove along that stretch of road. We walked around as much of campus as we could bear. The wind whipped my hair around and I buried as much of my face in my scarf as I could, though it still tore through every layer I wore that day. It was as though three students went to the school for how many people I saw on campus. I remember thinking to myself, “It’s only four years, I can deal with that.” At a new school far away from my small community—northern Delaware—the clay of my future was freshly moistened, and I was ready to start molding. I knew that I loved to travel, having been on a club volleyball team that took us around America and to several European countries as well as Peru and Mexico in high school. I also knew what kind of person I wanted to become, disciplined and knowledgeable on current events. Save for those two things, I had no clue what to do with myself. In that jam-packed first three days of freshman year, an obvious theme arose: get involved. All the advice was urging us to join a club or attend an event. For some constructive structure, it seemed as though they wanted us to find what we’re passionate about, as though it’s as simple as joining a club. Well, it turns out that they were right. At first, I was extremely cognizant of my first impression. I took academics very seriously. I would scour the undergraduate catalogue, looking at classes in which I thought I could finally discover my passion. I explored New York City every chance I got and visited friends in Philadelphia almost every other weekend. I joined club after club, only to quit club after club. I racked up my priority points at every event that even remotely interested me. I still had no sense of direction. You know how sometimes you may feel like a plastic bag floating through the wind wanting to start again? Well, I felt like I was in quicksand, and whenever I tried a new club or plotted a new minor, the sand of all those attempts to get myself on solid ground just kept slipping through my fingers. As my third semester was winding down, I joined the Setonian as a Pirate Life staff writer. The assignments were straightforward: watch this show or that movie and give us your thoughts in about 300 words. Cool. Easy. Fun. So I stuck with it. The next time the editorial board held elections, I interviewed for head PL editor and received the news copy editor position instead. I know that I’ll always look back at that turn of events as what catapulted me onto my path. I am so thankful to have found journalism, which has led to so many other amazing opportunities. I finally found the leverage that I needed to bring myself out of that clouded sinkhole and, after graduation, I plan to hit the ground running. Emily Balan is a senior diplomacy major from Wilmington, Delaware. She can be reached at Emily.balan@


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