Last week, I talked about something from one of my favorite podcasts. This week I want to talk about something related to my backpack. But that’s getting ahead of myself a little bit.
First, I want you to close your eyes and imagine something. Imagine that finals are over and you’re chilling at home over break. And then your mom and/or dad comes in to ask the age old questions, “So what do you want to do when you graduate?” While most of us hate to answer the question, it is a fair one. At some point all of us are going to have to leave UConn and make a career for ourselves somewhere. This brings us back to my backpack.
I have this cool backpack that I use almost every day. It’s the Everyday Backpack from Peak Design and it’s awesome for a photographer like myself because it holds all my gear. But this column isn’t about the backpack, it’s about Peak Design, and more specifically, their motto, “Find your peak.” It’s a clever play on words because of their name, but the message is even cooler.
When you think of “peak,” you think of the highest point on a mountain. So what is “finding your peak?” It’s finding the thing in the world that you want to be the best at. The thing that no matter what you do or go through, it remains who you are in your heart. And when you find that peak you’ll know that it’s the only thing in the world that you want to do. A lot of companies have similar tag lines and there is the clichéd statement about finding your bliss. Because if you enjoy what you do, then you’ll never work a day in your life.
At this point you’re probably wondering how exactly you find that peak. Finding the one thing you want to do in life is really, really hard. Especially because making a career out of the things you enjoy doing probably doesn’t seem feasible. I mean, I really like playing video games but there is a slim-to-none chance that I can make a career out of it. And I’m fine with that. Video games for me are a break, an escape from the world. I shouldn’t make my peak something that I use to get away from everything else. If I did, it would lose all meaning.
No, your peak is something that is part of your identity. It’s the kind of thing that would make you feel empty inside if one day someone said you could never do it again.
And it’s freaking hard to figure out what that thing is. The good news, however, is that you don’t need to know what it is right now. That’s one of the major points of college after all, figuring out who you are as a person and figuring out your identity. I certainly didn’t know at the beginning.
I’ve talked about this before, but I came into UConn as an actuarial science major. It took me five semesters to consider that photography might be my peak. It took another semester to convince myself that I wanted to do photography. And then it took another year entirely to actually recognize how hard it is going to be. So to put it together, it took me eight semesters, a normal college length, to find my peak. I want to be a photojournalist and now nothing will stop me.
And getting to your peak is like climbing a mountain. You might not know where you’re going, but you have to start climbing at some point. Eventually you’ll see your peak and you’ll know what you want to do. Good luck on exams, and have a great holiday break. I’ll see you all in January.
Amar Batra is a senior staff photographer and weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets at @amar_batra19.