What’s your tagline? I’m writing a resume for an application right now and I’ve realized that I don’t have a tagline – oops. There’s one on my Facebook page, but I’m not super fond of it. The first thing it categorizes me as is a “student,” which is not inaccurate, but that’s not how I want to be labeled when people first meet me.

So, that begs the question. How do I want to be labeled? In a recent essay, I labeled myself as a trailblazer, but to put that on a resume seems a bit too arrogant. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe this application will require a certain level of uncomfortable confidence that I have yet to master. Do I want to label myself as a marketing specialist? Not really, that doesn’t say anything about my character, drive, or ability. It just tells people that I can write ad-copy and send outreach emails. Those qualities are important in what I want to do, but they’re not the first thing I want a potential employer to know about me.

Coming out of high school, I knew I was ahead. My desire to be ahead was so profound that I had to push myself further than graduation or I wouldn’t feel good about my accomplishments. If I just received a diploma, I would feel as though I were stuck where everyone was. Drifting through school and life, completing the minimum requirements needed to get to the next stage. I didn’t even want to go to the next stage that people expected me to step into, so I had to route myself differently and I had to show that I could thrive in my chosen environment.

I’ve heard the phrase “unexpected academic” come from people who were not expected to reach for higher education but ended up becoming some of the most successful intellectuals in their given field. I’d say I’m the opposite of them. I’m the “expected academic.” That is, everyone in my life has expected me to go to college, study something brainy and complex, and then go on to change the world through my degree. I don’t think my parents ever expected to hear me say “maybe I don’t want to go to college.” I didn’t really think I would ever say that either. But then, I looked around and saw my friends in debt, dropping out from a lack of joy or financial means, or getting a degree and then being unable to get a job.

Now, I’m an unwilling student. Searching for ways to prove to people that I don’t want to go to school, not because I’m being influenced by unreasonable sources, but because I can read the writing on the wall. Going to college wouldn’t ruin me financially, but it’s not going to make me happy. Four years of a shitty high school has left me unimpressed by education and not excited by the idea of continuing it.

This resume has been hard to write. Throughout my entire process of trying to rewire my brain towards a value-added mindset, I’ve come to see that a lot of what I learned in high school is not benefiting me or my endeavors. Instead, I feel like a child again. Asking questions that I used to have the answers to, feeling frustrated at my lack of knowledge, and wondering whether the route that fascinates me is one I can succeed in.

I’m still trying to find my tagline, but at least it won’t have the word “student” in it.


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