Qiao Song, songq@muohio.edu

 A historically Jewish fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu, is being brought back to Miami University by senior Bob Brooks. Its sound logo, “Be a founder, not a follower,” just calls for members to do things in their own way.

Dogen Zenji once said “Do not follow the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself. Your body and mind will become clear and you will realize the unity of all things.” However, in our daily life, we are inclined to follow others’ steps and likely to give up our own directions.

Walking in the world of white snow, you suddenly realize that you haven’t come across your friends on the street from the short holiday yet. Where are they?

They chose to study abroad in Spain, China or Italy, or they finally determined to transfer to another university that is too far away from yours, or they successfully graduated last year and started to work in a company in the new year. Then, you begin to question yourself, “Will I choose to stay here in Miami?”

Seeing most of your classmates studying business or changing their prior majors to business, you may wonder if you are going to follow their tides, betray your own interest and lie down on the comfortable sofa in the Farmer School of Business.

Such things are frequently happening around us every day, and as a result, sometimes we easily get lost in others’ decisions.

A case study of developing a leadership-training program for high potentials in 2009 by Gina Abudi, the chair of Global Corporate Council Leadership Team, strongly insisted that independent thinking be the most prominent part of a successful leader. 

It’s a new year and a fabulous new semester. Why not just follow your own mind and make your own choices? Our life should be dictated by our own brains, not others’ hands.

You are sure to be jealous of your friend who updates his or her Facebook status everyday about some fresh things that took place in Spain, a totally different country from the United States of America, who uploads some amazing photos taken on the Great Wall, who established a new relationship with a French boy, but these are not the real reasons you should go to study abroad.

Before you make a decision, you should stay calm and think about every factor in order to balance the advantages and disadvantages. These factors include your foreign language skills, the ability to adjust yourself to an absolutely new environment and, most importantly, whether a decision matches with your major or your academic interest.

When you see scores of people ending their education and moving into a job to earn money while you hesitate to continue yours in graduate school, you need to take time to seriously consider your own situation.

Be respectful of your unique talents and interests. When half of Miami students major in accounting, marketing or finance, it may not be a good thing for them or for society.

Nowadays, people’s motivation is mostly driven by money, reputation and high social status. Those who just care only about sales of groceries will never know how to plant healthy rice and high-quality corn.

Those who only focus on the import or the export may not be familiar with the materials of which the goods are made. In other words, they know less about life.

If everyone pursues fields of business, who will feed the world and who will take care of people?

We need to give ourselves some time to carefully listen to our own heart. We need to settle our own goals and make plans to achieve them. We also need to be devoted to our own dreams. We need to be engaged in what we have determined to do. With these skills we can finally arrive at our destination.