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    In my office, on a shelf near the chair where students usually sit when they come in for career counseling, I have a framed photograph that I took while backpacking through Europe a few years ago. The picture is of a wall in a hostel in Prague, on which was written, “We ache for places we haven’t gone, for voices we haven’t heard, and smells that linger in a future memory.”

    I keep this picture close by for a few reasons. First, I like to think about the trip that I took with my friend, and the memories we made. Second, I like to think about the unknown in my own life, and how it may play out (which is, of course, impossible to imagine!). And finally, I keep it there because I want students to feel free, within my office walls and far beyond them, to explore the idea of adventure. Sometimes, as I walk through our crowded interview lounge and hear the anxiety that students justifiably experience, I wonder how remote the idea of joy seems. I worry that for some students, it is a distant thought.

    Yet within each one of us, I believe, exists the possibility for adventure. Sometimes that adventure plays out in a career that we may develop over the course of a lifetime. Other times, adventure may come in the form of travel, exposure to different cultures, or in the act of settling in one place and absorbing all there is to experience there. For some people, it can be found abroad, and for some people, it is created at home.

    The key is to recognize the inspiration in your own heart, so that you can bravely go in that direction. This is harder than it may seem at first glance, precisely because it takes dedicated listening to yourself – and only yourself! – and because it takes courage to then follow. However, it seems that finding those pieces of ourselves, and then working to put them all together, is where real genius occurs. There are countless people in the public eye who demonstrate this truth, from Julia Child to Bill Gates. Who do you know who lives a truly fulfilled life? Have you ever asked how they got there?

    As a career counselor, I can’t give you the answers. Only you can find them. But I am ready to help you figure them out. I believe that each person has the power to create a fulfilling reality. The first step is to name what you would like to have, what you would like to achieve, and who you would like to be.

    We’re halfway through the fall semester; the holidays will soon be upon us. Whether you’re in your first year at Georgetown or your last, I invite you to start exploring the idea of adventure. If you were to unfold the whole world on a map, with all its colors and valleys, where would you go? What would you do? There is no doubt that your time here on the Hilltop can be a part of that, through your classes, extracurricular activities, service, and internships. Come see us at the Career Education Center; we can help you figure out how to build your adventure.

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