First-place winner of op-ed competition: "Ten year plan"


In 10 years I plan to be a champion of the King’s vision and a participant in the King’s reality. The unbridled enthusiasm of my Inviso days and the inevitable cynicism of senior year will seem almost equally distant to me. My House’s competitive standing: less important. The luxury of putting theory above practice: gone. The strength of my personal affiliation with King’s will have diminished, and only the school's biggest influences will remain at the forefront of my person. John

I can easily envision my career. My occupation will be twofold. Consuming most of my time will be my pseudonymous authorship. By the time I’m 29 I’ll have finished several volumes ranging from avant-garde literature, philosophical treatises, poetry and children’s fables. My style will be as diverse as my pennames. All of these works will subtly but effectively advance an epochal cause (I just haven’t decided what that is yet). The writing will be pithy and magnificent; worthy of unbounded recognition which it undoubtedly won’t receive.

But that won’t be the limit, because I certainly can’t be tied down to just one thing. Also, I will probably need to earn a living, and in pursuit of that end I shall take up professional chess as a side job. It’s necessary. To hope for such a Kierkegaardian position right out of college with no backup plan is just untenable. Chess makes the picture a little more realistic.

In actuality I have no idea what this 29-year-old King’s graduate is going to look like. I’m not even sure about the 20-year-old junior. Sometimes we, as students, become so tied to our long-term desire to influence strategic institutions—which is code for “change the world”—that we forget the nearly insurmountable uncertainties that face us the moment we are handed our degrees. Our shining prospects can, at times, blind us to the difficulties of reaching such heights.

But for many of us the opposite is true. We can hardly make it past the 50 pages of APTAP and the four-page book review, which we scramble to complete, so that we can sustain our (annoyingly un-inflated) GPAs. And in the end all this effort goes toward our struggle to score a slightly better entry-level job.

If we are not careful we tend to either live with the ultra-idealistic long-run in mind or with the strikingly bleak short-run in mind. This disconnect between these two mindsets can make for some humorously ill-communicated Facebook conversations between the wide-eyed freshman and the disenchanted senior. But both views are wrong because they are reductionist. They both miss what our approach could be and instead only look at a part of what it means to “live out the vision.” My conviction is that the whole of the King’s experience can be done well if two ideas can be embodied. These are to strive to love God and to strive to be excellent.

I don’t know the extent of my potential. Perhaps for me, living out this King’s vision is doing essentially what I plan to do; that is, to balance my authorship with a dose of chess playing. For the time being, however, I will have to satisfy myself with trying to love God and trying to be excellent. Fortunately, in both, I’m afforded a lot of grace.