What are you waiting for?

TAL-Harper

I wrote a post a few days ago but couldn’t bring myself to publish it because I sounded like such a ditz. It was about how much I love learning and school and being a nerd—things that are difficult to make interesting to others and hard to convey without sounding like an suck-up. So it sat in my drafts folder going about it’s business while I shuffled down to Ikea on yesterday and listed to some This American Life podcasts. It in the middle of New York, it kind of felt like I was visiting old friends when I heard Ira Glass begin the show.

I picked this one, Harper High School, Part One, to listen to because it had two parts: I figured it would be long enough to get me to Brooklyn and back.

This story is so good. This American Life decided to take a close look at one particular high school in Chicago, in response to the very violent year they’ve been having. In the last year, 29 Harper High students were shot, eight of them died. It’s not one of those soap opera stories and it doesn’t sound like a public service announcement, it’s just an incredible interview of this school. They followed around the principal, the counselors, some of the students…all of their stories were so raw and gave so much insight into the life in this part of the Chicago. The staff was genuinely trying to improve their students’ lives: to give them normal, safe high school experiences in the midst of all this violence. The students’ stories of trying to be good when there is so much bad around them. Trying literally to survive each day in a tenuous social structure where they have to be in a gang or they’d become a target. I had chills nearly the entire time I was listening to this story.

I loved learning and school so much that this story resonated with me as its layered tragedy. So many difficult circumstances piled onto this kids. I felt so lucky to grow up where it was easy to go to school. That I was able to go to college. That I am where I am today.

Ok, so here’s the post I didn’t want to post before. I think paired with real substance (above) it’s ok:

As much as a cheesy-cheeseball fest I think Some Nights by Fun. is, I also think it completely resonates with the current millennials dinking around in the workforce right now. Between that song and We Are Young, I bet Fun. accounted for like 25% of graduation songs this year.

We are a restless generation of dreamers. We want to make a big impact all while following our passions—A generation of English majors ;).  For normal people on the outside, I know it seems kind of gross-annoying, but know that I can’t help it.

What made me think about this is that a maybe two years ago (or sometime in college) I was really worried about having a passion. I looked around was felt like I needed some all-consuming hobby that involved a paintbrush or safety gear or podium. Like I had this deep fear that I was the only person that didn’t have this hobby that they went out and did. I was worried that I would graduate and be lost and find out I didn’t like what I was doing.

Graduating is weird. I’ve been more introspective, reflective, and evaluative of myself during this year and half after graduation than ever before—and I am a thinker. I have thought about it so much I can give you articulate answers for those vague questions that would catch most people off guard. What is your life philosophy? What makes you truly happy? What kind of people do you want to surround yourself with? What are you inspired by? And so on.

What I’m happy to report is that I know what my passion is and what gives me the most joy—at least right now. As far as I can tell, it’s always been my passion and it has only be become more concentrated now that I recognize it and openly pursue it: learning. Is that corny? Probably a little bit. I always had this conception that your hobby had to be tangible and “cool” so learning was something I liked, but…I felt like I wasn’t doing something right.

Today, I definitely concentrate on design & technology, but I’ll hear about something, read an article, or see a I fucking love science post and am stricken with panic: I want to learn all of it! I don’t know anything about tongue-eating fish parasites!! I stumbled across this article about the Tazo tea redesign and had to pull my box down from the cupboard and study it while I was reading the about the rebranding. I get caught up for hours wanted to absorb more information about this or that. And I don’t think it’s just the mind-numbing internet surfing that is unproductive (I do do that too, I am human), but it’s this fear that I’m “missing out” on something.

I know it because, when I was in school, there I was a moment where I was overwhelmed with how lucky I felt to be exactly there. Not in vaguely in college or taking classes, but how fortunate I was to be in that particular class listening to my professor. Even if I had signed up for another class—that wouldn’t be good enough, I would be missing out on what I was learning right now. I really value getting to learn things and I happily accept that as part of who I am.

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