By: James Hogan ~Guest Writer~
I spent my spring break doing what every college student dreams of all winter long: sitting in a Starbucks, reading scholarly articles and working on my thesis.
Since August I have spent a portion of nearly every day working on research in the area of study I think is important and interesting. Three books and who knows how many articles later I have written 35 pages of what I am guessing is incoherent ramblings about the American legal code. In the six months I have been writing, this work has become my passion. It is what I crave to learn more about. But, on Thursday, I realized something. I do not know a damn thing about the research that my fellow classmates are doing. I can think of the general topics of three other seniors’ research, and I have read a draft of one. Keep in mind there are over a thousand students in my graduating class.
I know the author of one draft I read on some level, but I never talked to the him about his motivations or his goals or what he hopes his thesis will inspire. So, how much do I actually know about his research? I know only what I perceive of his writing, through my own admittedly biased lens, meaning that I only really know my own research and my own work despite there being hundreds of other ongoing projects at our university.
Of the hundreds of students who are doing in-depth research on topics that they are truly passionate about, I have some sense of four of them. And the only research topic that I can have any meaningful conversation about is my own. I have no one to blame but myself. I talk to other seniors every day of the week, all of whom are working on something before graduation that makes them bubble with excitement. I don’t even know the general topic of any of that work.
Why do we not ask each other what we are all working on? Why is there so little interest in each other’s works and passions? The sense that we are all too busy or too mentally clogged to ask even one person every day what they are working on is absurd. It takes fewer than five minutes to hear what someone else is interested in and working on. Just imagine what we could learn by asking our fellow Musketeers what their research is focused on. As we all work toward our passions and interests, how wonderful is it to have someone to talk with about them?
Each and every one of us has some passion, that idea that makes our hearts pound. We should discover what those passions are not only in ourselves but also in each other. If we truly are aspiring to be men and women for others, we have to at least attempt to know something about the work and interests of other men and women in our lives.