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Friday, June 21, 2024
The Observer

Two weeks later

After the emotional and physical exhaustion that came with writing my column two weeks ago, I needed to take a minute off from writing — and everything else. I’m pretty sure I sat on my futon, unmovable, for 96 hours.

Everything felt weird, like I was all exposed to the world, and having my inbox inundated with kind words and moving stories from people I don’t know proved my feeling correct. It was beautiful to hear that my words touched others, but so deeply upsetting to read of similar experiences within the Church. The thread of pain that wove through my inbox tethering me to complete strangers was too difficult to immediately address. So, I read the emails as they came in and just let them sit there. Some, I responded to. Others, I still haven’t found the right words for.

I told my editor that this column (the one you’re reading right now) would be about the response I received. That it would be a well-articulated summary of the emails and direct messages and texts. That I would come up with some sort of solution to all the Church’s problems, and I would be prepared to present it to her for editing by 5 p.m. on Sunday.

It is currently 10:50 a.m. on Sunday. Spoiler alert: I’m not prepared.

I’m back on the futon, and I’m struggling to think of solutions. So, I made this Google Form (if you’re reading via newspaper, you’re going to have to pull up the online version of this column — sorry) for all of you to answer. I’ve heard about many problems. Those are, unfortunately, simple for many of us to name. But now I’m challenging all of us to try something harder. Let’s try to think of solutions.

The things happening in the Church now are ridiculous, so don’t feel like you need to come up with some beautifully crafted plan for reform. If you have one, I’d love to hear about it, but if you’re just a normal person and don’t have a spare Church-rebuilding blueprint lying around, feel free to just respond to nonsense with nonsense. The conversation needs to continue, and it must include all voices. There are virtually no bad ideas.

Seeing as you won’t have responded to my form by 5 p.m. (because those of you who don’t follow me on social media haven’t even seen it yet) this column is not my official reply to the first. I want to read more responses, spend more reflection time on this wonderful futon, attend the University’s forum and talk to more people. Then, hopefully, I will have some semblance of an idea of what we collectively think reform should look like. Or I will be even more confused. Guess you’ll just have to read in two weeks to find out!

I filled half of my word count telling you what I was not able to do in the past two weeks, so I feel that it is fitting to use the rest of my words to talk about what I have been up to.

Sept. 17 was the Fall Career Fair, so potential employers were all over campus. Departments hosted networking events, the Center for Career Development hosted resume reviews, JCPenney and ND did a crossover event and we all joined Handshake.

I spent Monday debating whether I should go to the career fair. I read about the employers (on Handshake, of course) and saw that many of them were looking for finance interns and consultants and junior analysts and engineers, none of which appeal to me. But I decided that it couldn’t hurt to practice networking and speaking professionally, so I took a seat in the second floor of the library and spent 10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. updating my resume.

At 8 a.m. on Tuesday, I marched myself over to Jenkins-Nanovic Halls for some bagels and networking hosted by the economics club. At approximately 8:35 a.m., I texted my mother a message she would later refer to as cryptic. It said, “Sooo. I do not like econ jobs.” At 8:36 a.m., phase number 376 of my ongoing identity crisis began.

I’m an econ major. I think econ is cool. Supply and demand are great! Indifference curves are exciting! I brought up the sunk cost fallacy in a normal conversation with my roommate the other day. Woo! But, as much as I love my major, I don’t think I could ever work in a conventional econ field.

Econ lets me ask big questions about the world and those who inhabit it. It allows me to be curious and provides me with the tools to find answers to my musings. As a discipline, it teaches about human preference and how we make decisions when faced with constraints. The fact that I can study that is SO COOL.

But, while talking to potential employers, I quickly learned that traditional econ jobs often look like data analysis and market studies for the purpose of helping companies make economic decisions. Not exactly what I’m passionate about.

I entered the big career fair prepared to face rejection on every front, as I met more employers who would tell me about jobs I wouldn’t want. Much to my surprise, when I was honest with these people and told them that I am an econ major with an untraditional econ path, they were more than willing to offer me advice and information about other positions within their companies that might be a better fit for me and my interests. I left the fair feeling far less unemployable, far more confident in my choice of major and proud of my ability to articulate myself.

It all goes back to that old saying that originated in Matthew 7:7 of the Bible but applies to just about everything else: ask, and you shall receive; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. The little experience of sharing my hopes for my future showed me what good can come from naming what you want. I hope that this practice of active self-advocacy will continue to define my actions and that you, reader, are beginning to understand where I am going with this seemingly random and insignificant anecdote.

That’s right. It all goes back to the form I want you to fill out! By including your voice, you will be joining in my ask for a better Church, search for leadership that supports truth and knock on the door of secrecy. Hopefully, in two weeks, I’ll have some better data (Ooh, econ things!) on what the people want, and I’ll be able to share my conclusions. Maybe this time I’ll only be comatose on my futon for 48 hours.

 

Ashton Weber is a sophomore with lots of opinions. She is majoring in economics and Film, Television, and Theatre with a JED minor. Making new friends is one of her favorite things, so feel free to contact her at aweber22@nd.edu or @awebz01 on Twitter.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.