college life

Back on The Farm, Working The Farm

Excuse my silence; I’ve been having a blast.

My schedule has come down thick, but I can now pick two more classes that were locked last year for requirements. And so, I’m currently in math class so far beyond my understanding that not only can I not answer homework questions, I don’t even know how to answers the questions. But the material is really interesting, even if I am baffled.

I get the sense that I might enjoy it just because my peers enjoy it. That sounds like a bizarre twist on peer pressure, but I’ve recently realized that one can vicariously enjoy the passion of another. William Zinsser (I think; maybe I’m trying to establish false credibility) mentioned once that his enjoyment in reading wasn’t as dependent on the material, but how well the author conveyed how much they enjoyed the material.

It certainly makes it easy to jump into new things when a friend has already. Tom, one of my drawmates (living in the same dorm), and his brother came back to campus equipped for the racquetball courts built onto one of the athletics facilities. Before last Monday, I had played squash once, and never really got any good at tennis, but I immediately found a new calling in racquetball. Watching Tom and his brother express their sibling rivalry on the court was truly amazing, and I would feel that something was wrong if I couldn’t enjoy playing at all while they were playing with so much heart.

The passion seems like the next step from exploration. I spent last year and the summer exploring different opportunities, events, and cultures, and I have no intention of stopping. Having reflected on my own experiences, however, I now see that a critical point of these sub-cultures is the deep passion of its members. We laugh at Trekkies who know exactly which episode explains why so many aliens look like humans, but abstractly, we all have our own domains where we can rattle off obscure facts and speak for hours about complexities.

I certainly have my own passions, and taking classes like human-computer interaction provide thrust for that. It makes me completely okay with keeping up on readings and doing assignments, but there’s always something else to consider. I thought I was an frisbee junkie, but I’ve spent five times more time trying to save kills on the racquetball court than working on my flick these past two weeks. And its through my peers that I’m seeing these new opportunities, and I firmly believe now that “there’s always someone cooler than you.”

One reply on “Back on The Farm, Working The Farm”

University is a great place to explore new things. It’s certainly a world where individuals have the opportunity to delve into their passions, and learn about the passions of others.

As someone who has now been around universities for more than 30 years, I have to say that I’ve met some academics who have “retired on the job” and don’t put much effort into either their teaching or their disciplines. It’s easy to not waste time with these people, though, and enjoy hanging with people who have continued a long-term program of internal development.

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