“Life is hard. Then you die. Then they throw dirt on your face. Then the worms eat you. Be glad it happens in that order.” Those hilarious—but painfully accurate—words come from American writer David Gerrold.
Why open with that quote? It’s not that I’m a cynic. Rather, I’m a realist. I don’t think my life is necessarily harder than anyone else’s, but that’s just it: We all have our own struggles, and they’re not easy. They’re hard. If nothing else, I’ve learned in my 21 short years on this planet that nothing worth buying is cheap, nobody worth knowing is simple and nothing worth doing is easy.
The fact that I passed high school physics is a miracle. However, I do remember one thing from Mr. Flemming’s lecture on circuits. In a circuit, electricity travels through the path of least resistance. The explanation is long and complicated, but I’m an English major. So it’s only fitting that I take something I can’t exactly explain scientifically or mathematically and use it as a metaphor to explain the way I see the world. Ready? Here it goes: In the circuit of life, I have found that we humans, who are governed by the same laws of physics as electrons, tend to take the paths of least resistance. It’s natural.
Oddly enough, I encourage you to do the opposite, to be unnatural. Don’t take the path of least resistance. One of the greatest writers of all time, Samuel Johnson, so beautifully wrote, “…For he who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.” In context, Johnson was referring to indulging in alcohol. However, I am encouraging you to indulge in your dreams as a way of survival. In everything you do, make a beast of yourself. You have one life, and the path of least resistance is no way to spend it.
When someone claims you can’t do something, it’s based off their experiences with humans. But if you can learn how to unleash your inner beast, you will find yourself wildly successful in everything you do.
A regular-old human might have a terribly difficult time balancing academics, work, play and that ever-elusive good night’s sleep, but a beast can do it all. Humans get discouraged after failure. A beast pushes on. Humans are lazy. Beasts are disciplined. Humans are cruel and hold grudges. A beast finds the power within to forgive, to love and to be compassionate and kind.
I’m certainly not a full-time beast, but I’ve been fortunate enough to have glimpses of my inner-beast come out when I’ve needed it. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t want to be a normal human. I want to be a full-blown beast. If accomplishing your dreams, whatever they may be, is something you’d like to have come to fruition, I highly advise working toward becoming one.
With that, I encourage all UNH students to relentlessly pursue their dreams, and to be especially persistent of the ones that seem terrifying or impossible; the ones you’re told will never become reality. But bear in mind that a college degree is not what it used to be. The labor force is saturated, and it’s going to take more than a diploma from this school to get much of anything done. Those who have found success know exactly what I’m talking about. You’re going to have to outthink, outsmart, outmaneuver and outwork the competition to be successful in pursuit of making your vision a reality. Fortunately, it can be done.
I’ll leave you with a quote from my favorite writer, Ayn Rand, whose inspiring novel Atlas Shrugged changed my life for the better. “Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.” Rand was right, you just have to become a beast.