Moran: If you don’t like it, quit

In Black and White

Parents and teachers always tell us to stick with the things we decide to do. I personally had parents who told me to stick out activities I didn’t like, for the express purpose of making me a better person.

I never understood how making a 10-year-old stick out a summer camp for a sport they clearly sucked at did anything but breed angst, but I do realize that my parents had my best interest at heart. They wanted me to be a good person who knew how to deal with bad situations and how to overcome obstacles.

But telling people not to quit doesn’t do that. It teaches kids to settle for things that make them uncomfortable. It turns them into “yes men.” It is okay to quit things that you hate, or even things that make you uncomfortable. You have the ability to drop what you are doing and leave. That’s part of what being an adult is.

I was having a conversation with a fellow tour guide this summer about my lack of career goals and how I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. She told me it was good that I was trying to figure this out, but that I could always pick a job and just do that until I figured out what I really wanted to do so I don’t end up unhappy at 40.

I responded by telling her that people choosing careers they aren’t passionate about is how people end up unhappy at 40.

I love fencing, but I didn’t gel with the team here, and so I quit. That was one of the best life decisions I made because it allowed me to have the time to take a job at the Observer and I ended up being a part-time writer and full-time voice of reason in some roundabout twist of fate. None of that would have happened if I hadn’t quit something else.

Quitting can be the best feeling in the world. It comes with a breath of fresh air, like a weight that has been crushing your lungs has finally been lifted. I won’t say that the guilt of quitting ever really goes away, because I still think of how I would have liked to have played sports in college. However I have moved onto better things. I have become a person that is a little closer to the person I want to be. None of that would have happened if I hadn’t quit.

I have dropped a class every semester since I enrolled here and despite having three W marks on my transcript, I’m not worried in the slightest. I had reasons to drop those classes; two I certainly would have failed and the other was giving me premature grey hair. None of those classes were worth the stress, and that is what I plan to tell employers if they ask about it.

I know my limits and I know that stress can hinder my quality of work. For me it was worth dropping a tough accounting class and giving myself a second chance to take it later, rather than letting all of my other grades suffer. Because I allowed myself to quit something I hated, I turned what would have been my worst academic semester into my first 4.0 ever. That wouldn’t have happened if I had forced myself to stick it out.

Not every activity is worth the resume line and the undue stress that accompanies it. Take a step back and reevaluate what it is that you really care about, and if there is an activity you don’t like don’t be afraid to just walk away.

Taylor Moran is a third-year student and is the Director of Business Operations for The Observer.