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The Dartmouth
February 29, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

A D-Plan for Life

What kind of job are you looking for?" she asked. I was in Career Services thinking about the future. My future. "A non-job job," I replied.

Needless to say, there are no firms visiting campus this fall to recruit people who are looking for non-job jobs. Which is okay -- the prospect of going into an office five days a week for nothing is depressing. At least money isn't such a huge issue because I've already accepted that, whatever I end up doing, it will be for starving-artist entry-level wages.

Since the world isn't going to provide me with a model of how to make a living, I have to do it on my own. It's not that I don't have ideas of what I want to do, it's that there just isn't any one thing that I want to do full-time for the foreseeable future.

What do I want to do when I grow up? I want to cook, bake, work in an independent bookstore, be a chaplain, live abroad, drive across country, writing all the while. I want to do arts programming, arts outreach, translate poems from Portuguese into English, work on a kibbutz, work on a fishing boat, writing the whole time. I want to be a playwright, a screenwriter a writer. I've even considered being a mohel, the person who performs Jewish ritual circumcision. (There's a job that would do wonders for my dating life.)

This is just a partial list -- and it doesn't include all the other dreams that I'm sure will pop up once I get out there.

Other than finding someone independently wealthy to support me, what's a girl with so many dreams and interests to do?

One possible solution lies here at this very institution. For all the headaches it produces, the Dartmouth Plan has a good principle at heart: something new every 10 weeks. Whether it is just a new set of classes or a new room (I lived in three different places during my sophomore year), or something bigger like a new internship or a new country, each term throws a little something different your way.

What if the D-Plan were extended to the world outside of Dartmouth? Every six months or so (because 10 weeks is too short) you could switch locations and occupations.

Unfortunately for me, it doesn't take long to see some major flaws in this fantasy. If I'm constantly moving in and out of experiences, how I am going to stay connected to the friends I meet along the way? (It's hard enough keeping track of my high school friends, since my school vacations rarely, if ever, coincide with theirs.) I'd be destined to become the Lone Wanderer. Also, I know that the D-Plan is only possible because I have a place to go in between each term's adventure; I have a house and a family to come to. But I can't crash with my parents forever.

Then there's the issue of "settling down." What happens when I meet someone I want to spend the rest of my life with and he doesn't want to changes lives at the end of every "term?" Or what happens if I've had enough of moving from place to place and want to create a home? And how will I pay for health insurance? (That's my parents' favorite question.)

So maybe the D-Plan of life isn't the best answer. But still, there has to be a way to explore this world, and all my interests, without committing myself completely to a nine-to-five existence.

I've got the rest of my life to figure it out.