This year, though, I'm strangely indifferent. I'm in a bit of a "been here, done that" mental state and excelling academically isn't my driving goal. Another term, another essay, another assignment: they blur together into numbers and lately I've been thinking of new questions. I'm scratching out some of my lists and reorganizing some of my priorities.
How do I live with purpose as a student?
I know that I live as my best self when I'm serving or caring for other people. In that place, my motivation is sharpened and I live with more meaning and intention. As a student, though, it is easy to slip into the rut of routine and due dates and hashing through abstract questions in stuffy classrooms.
I know I'm investing in my future and I enjoy what I study, but I need more than that to fill my days. I need something to spark my imagination and challenge me to grow and offer meaning in a place beyond myself.
How do I get there?
My challenge to myself this semester is to live with intention and awareness. There are so many creative ways to extract meaning from the day. I want to use this space more often in that process of untangling.
One of my broad goals this semester is to legitimately learn something new, if not every day, then at least every week. This could be classroom learning or life learning, but I want to open my definition of education and glean as much out of this university experience as I can.
Maybe I'm making assumptions, but this exercise shouldn't be difficult. Often it is just the practice of noticing and naming something that pulls it up from slipping between the cracks and often that is enough to tilt perspective or refresh vision or offer purpose to an otherwise empty or flat day.
Last week I was running to class and uncharacteristically stopped at a bulletin board to skim over the explosion of papers stapled haphazardly all over the wall. I moved one piece of paper and found this note hiding underneath.
It caught my attention and I smiled. Sometimes the very truth we need to hear is stapled to a bulletin board and we rush past it because we're locked in on time and responsibility, or we're too focused on the crazy mass of advertisements and other notices vying for our attention to see the honest humanity of a scribbled note.
The world isn't as bad as you think. Collect those bright spots in your days, in your weeks, and cling to them like treasure. Yes, the world can be a dark and scary place. Yes, the world can wring your heart and leave you with wounds and questions, but there is beauty and good as well. There is meaning to be found. The more I learn, the more I find that this is a truth. The more I learn, the more I understand that this truth is often difficult to find.
However, sometimes all I need to do is stop for a minute and look at a bulletin board.