A Plea to University and College Students

A plea to university and college students (and all young adults)!

(There is some necessary background to set up this blog post. Please bear with me.)

US Government Shutdown

Some very (very, very) quick background. Due to the US’s political and governmental systems and organization, the American government is currently not operating – services are closed, employees are not working, citizens are not receiving benefits, etc. The reason is long and complicated and not the purpose of this blog post (for more about the USA Government Lock Down, click here).


There are many individuals and groups organising and leading protests about the shutdown and related politics at the US Capitol building in Washington, DC, USA (2 things: I am saddened that post-secondary students, in previous generations, were the socially conscious heartbeat of society and no longer are; and visit Washington, DC if you have the opportunity as it is absolutely beautiful with lovely people). Millions of individuals, families, homeless, children, animals, and environments are affected by the shutdown both in the US and shortly around the world as other nations and countries begin to feel the impact.

Today, Thursday, October 3, 2013, a citizen took his concerns about the government to a level no individual has the right. Details are still unclear, but an individual tried to ram barricades and there ended up being shots fired (a CBC article is available by clicking here).

(Keep reading as I am almost there.)


(There is where my plea to university and college students (and young adults) truly starts!)

Just as hundreds of police officers, volunteers, medical professionals, and participants ran toward the explosions during the Boston Marathon bombings to help those injured (including a family friend from the east coast), the very police officers in Washington, DC who currently do not have a paycheck are volunteering to help control the mayhem in DC.

In case you missed why hope always exists in the world, these police officers currently at the scene of the incident are volunteering to save the very people (members of the US government’s decision making bodies) who cannot agree on a simple financial number and thus are not paying any salaries (including DC police officers) (an International Times article about this very matter is available by clicking here).

University and college students (and young adults), this is where my plea to you enters the picture.

My Plea

These police officers are volunteering to protect citizens and visitors to the DC area, and to protect and provide safety to the very people (i.e., Congress) that are not paying their paychecks. Some of the officers may be in it for just a paycheque (the reality is, we live in a world that requires money to survive).  However, I imagine this number is small.

These police men and women have found a job that allows them to do what they love and want to do every day (help others).  By what I have read and heard through media outlets and social media, the police are rushing in to help protect and save others without the motivation of a paycheque.

This is passion. This is doing something beyond the safety net of money.

Students Unite

While you go about being a student in your day-to-day routine, think about what job you would do on a day-to-day basis without a paycheque. Would you hurl yourself in front of a man with a gun? Or a woman trying to drive her car through your patrol car?

You may currently be studying business but have no desire to go into business (even if you don’t, there are many skills and much knowledge that is very valuable you will gain from a business degree).  Perhaps you rely on financial support from someone that won’t let you go to art school even though this is your true passion. This is okay. Find a way to build your passion and loves into your current environment.

There will never be a perfect job that matches perfectly with all of your passions. There is never a perfect environment where you get to do the one thing you love 100% of the time. This is okay. Life is not about perfection.

For me, the thought of paperwork and bureaucracy drives me bonkers. This being said, I have to deal with these 2 things in order to do what I really like: helping others find themselves and develop (i.e., my current student services role).

Use your time at your school/university/college to experiment and explore. Explore different clubs, groups, and opportunities. Explore other values, opinions, and attitudes.  Discover those around you who may have gone through very similar experiences and have much to offer (your school’s staff, alum, supporters and faculty).

Life is too short to enter an industry because your parents are making you, or because you think this is the quickest way to get rich.  Just remember, the people with the most money, are not the world’s wealthiest.

This is my plea, students!  Please, be yourself and do find the thing that you will be able to do day-after-day without the need for a paycheque.

Think about when you have been at your happiest. When you have felt the most fulfilled. The most satisfied. Where were you? What were you doing? Who were you helping? Now, go for it!


I welcome and strive to get your feedback and own thoughts. Feel free to comment below or connect with me via social media.

Adam Goodwin is a Canadian working in the United Kingdom, and is a proud shameless idealist. His parents currently work in Cairo, Egypt. He has siblings and distant family in Canada and around the rainbow nation’s only home. Follow his year+ overseas on Twitter (@adam13goodwin) and on this blog

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