I thought about not writing this post.
I was supposed to blog about how my academic life and experiences connect to the real world, and I just had no idea where to begin. As a first-year, I certainly do work, there is no question about that. I write essays and take notes and stay up studying, but I had a really hard time identifying anything I was actually doing that was of real significance. Sure, the things I’m doing are making me a better thinker, writer, speaker—but is any of it really going to change my future? No, or so I thought. Perhaps my work is not of any worldly significance yet, but the things I’m learning are preparing me to be greater.
Recently, I handed in a paper for the literature class I’m taking (EN199) which was a very difficult assignment for me. I struggled to make my paper less of a stream of consciousness and more of a conversation with critics. Once I finished it, after many hours of writing, erasing and rewriting, I handed it in feeling good and glad to be done. But once I got it back from my professor, I realized perhaps I didn’t have to be done—nor did I want to be. He mentioned that often times, student from his classes will use their papers in the future if they work on them a little more. People have applied to grad school or have been published in literary journals as textual critics with papers like the ones my classmates and I had written. I thought, “What if my writing could turn into something great like that?!” Until I realized, perhaps it already was that. Sure my paper would need work, and it was far from perfect, but what if I did decide to take it a step further?
What if one day, my thoughts on the use of light in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein got published in some scholarly manner, and other students cited my work? I realized then that the possibilities that might come from having a voice in my writing are ones that will always remain. Not everything I do, at any and every moment, is going to affect the real world right then and there… but it could.
I think that once high school is over, we have this misconception that immediately adulthood will look the way it does in movies. We finished senior year as top dogs, and now here we are, once again, starting anew. But perhaps that fresh start doesn’t have to mean we are insignificant or at the bottom; we are merely preparing for significance. I am certainly excited to keep preparing. My words matter to me and hopefully some day, I can make them matter to the world.
Photo by Rubin Starset