I sat with A. this week, a junior facing graduation on the horizon. Because we don’t see each other on a regular basis, each of our meetings is a touchstone for me in watching her grow. I see her as a new freshman, thirsty for social action opportunities. I see her as a sophomore on the street, rushing past & engaged by her increasing involvement on campus.
But this week – I saw a bit of junior year sadness.
In the summer following my junior year at NYU, I had high aspirations: I wanted to work at an ice cream shop. At that point, I think I had one internship on my resume and that felt like enough. Ten years later, I’d be hard pressed to find a Colonial with such a thin list of experiences under their belts. From the moment students arrive on campus, I see the immediate swirl of activity that sucks them in, requiring one to jump into student orgs and professional opportunities. Working at an ice cream shop would be a money maker at best – and potentially a waste of precious internship time, at worst.
Getting involved with so many future-oriented activities certainly holds great potential for learning and growth. But what A. reminded me of as we spoke, was that sometimes jumping into EVERYTHING doesn’t give us the chance to think about much of ANYTHING. A. is on the cusp of her senior year and she’s wondering what community got shaped out of all of her accumulated choices. She (RIGHTFULLY) needed a break from a Jewish bubble when she arrived on campus; but following the break, life swept her away and she didn’t have the time to consider – in a meaningful and thoughtful way – what she really wanted her community to look like. Now she wonders: How do I jump back in? How do I find authentic community in my life?
When was the last time you paused to reflect on the community you’ve shaped for yourself at GW? What shifts can you make to build your soul as much as you are building your resume?