Simply put, taking school for granted is a slippery slope.
This past week I was reminded of my love for life and that I’d lost carrying that love around this past semester. I had a plan to journal my classes and how they related to ‘the big picture,’ but, unforutnately I didn’t keep it up.
In the early half of this week I went to an event on campus with a panel of people who have international careers, sharing their experiences and giving guidance to curious students. The excitement and adventure of travel, the humbling of networking with incredible individuals- this is was strike one.
A day or so later I spontaneously decided to go to “Tech Tomorrow” a networking event for CIO’s and salesmen of startups in the central Ohio area. I saw some new gadgets, I learned more about the IT market here and again dressing up, taking in exciting yet foreign information and getting away from the everyday lit up my world- strike two.
The next day, it’s now Thursday, I had brunch with a professor who happens to be the Director of Peace Studies and who I had heard great things of- strike three.
His background is an adventure in itself and I can’t wait to be one of his pupils. One of the things he shared with my friends and I was student behavior in the different courses he teaches. (NOTE: he’s also been a professor at Oxford). He mentioned the difference in background that English students brought to his class than American ones. We got stuck on the topic of the students who show up and expect to pass for breathing versus the students actually in the room to learn.
I found myself drifting to an image of my young self who envisioned attending Oxford for university, pouring over books and chatting with professors, soaking up every second. Then I pictured myself in bed early the week before thinking “this nap is too good to make it across campus in less than 30 minutes.”
Had I become that slacking student?!
I know it’s the end of the semester, and dragging across the finish line is almost an acceptable norm to joke about with my peers, but the idea of being classified as ‘one of those slackers’ didn’t occur to me until that moment. Especially because just before brunch I’d been speed walking with someone joking about how often rushing to class was.
Fast forward to today: I’m nearly halfway through a book on French culture (a leisure read I’m borrowing from a friend as result of a spontaneous visit to her apartment on Saturday, just to say ‘hi’). On my way home I stopped in the almost remodeled Sullivant Hall ( a gorgeous structure that will house the dance, cartoon library and arts). This visit, also spontaneous, (at nearly 10pm) led me on a one-woman-tour opening every unlocked door and gawking at whatever piece of art I could get close to. I let myself get lost in the wing that was open. I have no clue why the building wasn’t locked. I didn’t dare cross the “construction only” signs but I did spend many moments imagining opening night, greeting the audience in the foyer from second or third floor balcony overlooking the octagonal rotunda. I did remember why taking in the culture around every corner is important. I did remember why I want to be a great dancer.
Somewhere between learning about French pays, Frenchrhetoric, smiling at every O-H-I-O on the way home, and being the single sole in that brand new beautiful building, I thought of that little girl who wanted to luxuriate in being a university student.
It was hard to get here. It’s even harder to stay. It’ll be even harder to leave with all my ducks in a row. Opportunity and beauty are in my palm. It doesn’t matter if I were in Oxford or Ohio State taking from that incredible professor, his class would be the same.
The point is, you have to create your own environment, you have to find wonder in the familiar. I payed attention to detail and inspiration this week and what I’m getting out of it is so valuable. It’s so worth the effort.
Taking the time to read Vogue, adventure and business blogs, folding laundry (my least favorite chore), setting aside time to catch up with new and old friends, contacting all the people I know in D.C. because I’ll be visiting next weekend, taking my studies more seriously- all these things resulted from caring just a little bit more about the details of life and it feels really good.
Maybe it all started last weekend at Cornell, but a maturity and confidence has risen inside Nia Ain. I’m not dragging myself across the finish line this semester. There’s too many opportunities that I’ve already let go.