Plans are made to be broken and clichés are meant to be forgotten, but when the sun rises, even if the blade is blunt, it hurts all the same. I’m making no sense, and doesn’t that leave me without change?
Cut the homonyms, they don’t work as well in writing.
Where to begin? It’s been an adventure–and every step unexpected.
I haven’t been sleeping well since I got back from Alaska. The time change was easy heading west: All I had to do was stay up late. Coming east wasn’t as easy–it feels like midnight at four in the morning. So today’s fiasco actually began last night: I didn’t get to sleep till five. In the morning.
So waking up at nine? Didn’t happen. Ten? Not even then.
Part of N.C. State’s motto is being globally engaged but locally responsive. For most students this probably remains an abstract concept, fuzzy words that don’t mean much from one day to the next, but for those in the Alternative Service Break program, it’s engrained in every trip: Not only do we have a service project in diverse parts of the world, both domestically and abroad, we also have a service project in our local community.
Last year, before my team went to Belize to build a drying rack with cacao farmers, we spent one weekend helping rebuild a house with Habitat for Humanity. The work with hammers and nails was certainly invaluable experience to get us started.
This year’s service project no doubt has prepared me just the same for Alaska.
It’s no secret I love learning, but if you press me to share the most memorable moments that made learning come alive, each of them would share a common theme: a teacher who inspired me. My favorite Hebrew school teachers were understanding and compassionate, sharing stories of living in Israel and talking to us in Hebrew. My favorite math teachers humanized abstract concepts and spoke to us as equals, helping us not only to learn, but to love. My political science teachers have made dull topics exciting by impersonating polar bears flopping around on the ice or breaking the tension with a sarcastic comment that leads the class into laughter; writing teachers have given encouragement, honest feedback, and shown an intimate interest in helping me to grow.
It is no small task, the work and effort I’ve put into my education at every level–from my earliest memories of being homeschooled through today–but if not for the passion my teachers showed me, all of this would have meant nothing.
So wouldn’t it be amazing, if only for a few days, I could inspire others as much as my teachers have inspired me?
The first time it happened I was standing in a shack raising money for the homeless. The two walked up to me–a man and a woman, maybe my age, smiling, too exuberant–and with their eyes attached longingly to mine, they introduced themselves and asked, “Can we pray for you?”
I’ll admit: I was taken aback. All my life the idea of “praying for others” was an insult to their identity and an affirmation of the prayer-maker’s superiority: “You’re Jewish? I’ll pray for you. You’re gay? I’ll pray for you. You’re a sinner. I’ll pray for you.”
It’s been a long time since I’ve said this and an even longer time since I’ve sincerely believed it, but today I feel happy. Genuinely happy. And for the life of me, I can’t even say what’s changed.
It feels like, for so long, dark clouds have held their hands around me, ethereal and tornadic fingers twisting around me, tumultuous chaos attacking me from every angle. Today the wind awoke over the world and while I was crossing the Brickyard–an open courtyard at the heart of campus–I felt the wind whipping around me, awaken the wind inside me, and in a burst of ecstasy I spun around and watched as the world itself twisted beneath me….
I finally retired last night sometime between three and four. I fell fast into sleep, into a world of vague and empty dreams, a world free from all the distress and anxiety that has overwhelmed me during the day and deep into the night. When my alarm went off this morning, I wearily opened my eyes, turned it off, and sent a text to my mom to leave a half-hour later than planned. I needed the extra sleep.
It took me four trips to bring everything downstairs and about four more to load the car. As I got inside, I found my anxiousness had mostly dissipated–but the day was still beginning.
During the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games last night I saw a commercial featuring our President responding to claims from challenger Mitt Romney that he’s against private business. The claim comes from a quote not too long ago in which President Obama stated, “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. If you’ve got a business–you didn’t build that.”
It’s scandalous, isn’t it? Ant what’s it got to do with the Talmud?
Yesterday was part of an epiphany. I realised I’m giving far too much importance to the location of the universities I’m looking at than I should. Yes, location is important, but relevant to the other factors I’ve been including, it doesn’t carry as much weight as might be intended.
As for today, I’m hoping for some similar epiphanies in the fields of academia.