A manifesto. Thank you for that Jeff. The first blogging challenge tackles the core of what I don’t like writing about- myself. So I’m not going to think about it too much (for once). I’m just going to write.

Susan Cain’s TED talk “The Power of Introverts” popped into my head as I was brainstorming this afternoon. I didn’t realize I was an introvert until my early twenties. I’m what you’d call a social introvert. I love spending time with my friends and family, but at the end of the day I need some alone time. I enjoy meeting new people, but there is a fair amount of nerves, especially in work situations, that come with the territory.

Part of this has led me to be a private, diplomatic person. I don’t like sharing my writing (hence why my blog is blank). I can write marketing copy, career topics, or blog for someone else all day long. But my writing? No way. I feel my brain is an entire separate world of thoughts, ideas and opinions I’m too shy to share. It’s why I’m doing this challenge.

I don’t think I’m alone in that sentiment. It’s human instinct to hold ourselves back for fear of criticism or rejection. If someone directly asks me my opinion, I’ll always give a diplomatic answer, or agree with them, even if I don’t. I’m not a pushover. It stems from a misguided sense of politeness, unwilling to engage. Frankly, sometimes it’s just easier.

In college I worked as a peer advisor at my university’s career center. Countless students and overzealous parents wandered in, asking the same series of questions. “What major will get my son/daughter the best job out of college?” “What are the highest salaries?” They’re well-intended, valid questions. However, more often than not, after speaking with those students, the question morphs into “Well, I really love anthropology but I don’t know what I’m going to do with that, so I’m studying business instead.”

And that’s a problem. Want to know a secret? Your major doesn’t matter. Truly. Study, work for, follow what interests you. If they aren’t your dreams and and aspirations, what is the point of pursuing them?

It’s a problem that I don’t share my own writing. It’s a problem that college students are hesitant to choose a major that interests them because it is not the most practical path. People should share. Follow their interests. Let their freak flags fly. Strive to stay uncomfortable and always keep learning. It’s why Sheryl Sandberg wants us to Lean In. It’s why Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani is teaching girls to pursue bravery rather than perfection. It’s a journey I’m pursuing on a personal level, in my career and as a woman.

So here it is, my manifesto. Keep learning, stay uncomfortable.