Stop, relax, now breathe.
Step back and look beyond your trivial days, the classes you are struggling in, that one teacher you cannot stand or maybe even your newfound success. Wherever you are, take a moment to let your mind be still. It is here in the stillness where we can engage in a moment of genuine reflection. While you and I are not together in the physical sense—at this moment—we share a space in our minds. We hold the power to investigate our inner conflicts, thoughts and fears. However, time is limited, so ask yourself: What is your purpose? Your purpose may not be your career. Who are you? Your accomplishments and failures do not define you. Does your ambition match your aspirations? The effort you put into your craft may lay the groundwork for future opportunities. And what will you do today to start working toward your dreams? The creation of healthy habits changes the character of the individual. These questions will remain prominent and relevant to us through every stage of our lives. To not call into question our desires, purpose and conflicts would be a great misfortune. To properly reflect, we must be aware of our surroundings and how we experience the world.
So here we are, college. The vehicle of success engineered to funnel you through a four-year institution and promptly thrust you into the working world with the tools to attain autonomy, freedom and prosperity. Most of us attending this university are undergoing some of the most transformative years of our lives, for what we do now at this age may very well determine what we do in our future endeavors. Here is where we wrestle with Plato and Socrates, come to understand the dichotomy of our future success while keeping our morality in-tact and learning what it means to undergo social, psychological and spiritual death. So much to juggle in four years with little time to reflect. But the idea of college seems so simple. Input and output. Plug yourself in, and out comes success—a simple system mashed with complex, extraneous struggles. Missing assignments, poor time management and social notoriety are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the pollution and desensitization of the student mind. It is much harder to find happiness while trying to give happiness. It’s harder to find your way when you’re on your way, and it’s harder to find the cure for racism while being the victim of racism. In the words of the powerful Dr. Kyra, “It is hard to advocate, fight and be a part of the system”.
To deal with the pressure of school, self-care and the looming fear of life after college, we must be willing to be self-aware, observant and reflect. We are in a never-ending process of calling ourselves into question and interrogating assumptions we believe to be fundamental. When you give yourself up to self-examination and let go of a dogma, an assumption or a presupposition, you experience a form of death. The relationship of dying and resurrecting should be at the core of our very being. Go into deep reflection, discover something new about yourself and grow from that discovery. While we are all presented with different sets of social, physical and personal challenges, I urge you to spend a considerable amount of time formulating the blueprint for how you will face the present and impending trials on the horizon. Be meticulous and calculated in how you plan to impact the world in your own capacity. No matter how grand or small your influence may be, do it to the best of your ability.
Acknowledgment of essential and pressing questions such as these are just the beginning of navigating life’s journey. Do not let this be the extent of your dose of reflection. Set a plan for yourself, improve it and act upon it. As you set out to embark on the strenuous challenges life will present, stick to the fight and remain vigilant during the tough times, for that is where you will find your breakthroughs.