Time to Go: Experiences Worth Sharing
By Jordain Carney
It’s that time of year. No, not the time for a lot of stress and little sleep, though sadly it is that too. It’s the time when we at the Traveler who are graduating gather around the metaphorical campfire known as the opinion page and discuss what we’ve learned during our time at the UA and the paper.
It’s a chance for us to relate. It’s a chance for us to share, no, not our wisdom—speaking for myself, if attaining wisdom is like finishing a long cross-country race I’m not sure I’ve even gotten out bed—but at least our experience. To try to contribute to some sort of greater common knowledge. Before I left my last internship, a couple of the guys decided they were going to scratch their name and a short message in the bottom side of the coffee table in the apartment. I imagine for some people these types of columns are a longer version of that.
If you’re hoping that my pseudo-philosophical opening means this isn’t that sort of column, I’ll go ahead and tell you it is. It’s also my last column. I’m sure some are cheering or breathing a sigh of relief the way we do after watching a bad performance. So, without further ado:
One: Try something new. No, I don’t mean when you head to Starbucks or RZ’s or Common Grounds this afternoon to order something different, though feel free to. I mean get out of your comfort zone. Take risks. Go after things even if you think it’s a long shot. It’s hard and sometimes it’s scary. More often than not, we have the tendency to do it once, feel proud for a few days or a week and then retreat back to our safety net. Study abroad. Take internships. Take a class you’re interested in even if it’s outside your major.
Something I heard a lot at the Traveler, and it applies outside of maze the first floor of Kimpel can sometimes be, is that college is the time to experiment. During college you have a lot of flexibility and control over your decisions—what classes you take, what RSO you’re a part of, often what you want to write a paper about. Looking back, I got spoiled during my time as an editor at the Traveler. Even as a columnist I get to decide what I want to write about within reason. Once I graduate much of that decision-making power will be gone. It’s part of growing up. It’s part of having to prove yourself all over again. It’s even a challenge we should all welcome, but I think taking advantage of flexibility in college can provide puts you in a better position once you leave.
Two: Remember the small things. In other words, pay attention to the details. Even enjoy the details. I’m not saying don’t have big goals. Big goals are great. They are fantastic. I have no doubt that some of us have the drive and the ambition to change the world.
Maybe it stems from the same area that made us want to be superheroes and save the world when we were children. But while you’re busy learning how to fly, fulfilling some larger quest or trying to figure out how to swing between skyscrapers via spider web, don’t forget we can do good things every day. Saving the world is a noble goal, but don’t forget in the meantime we can save each other. We can do good things every day with our kindness, our willingness to help others and simply being polite.
In a world where we are pushed to be competitive from a young ago, it’s easy to overlook these things. As cliche as it is, we often don’t know what the people around us are going through. We forget how small things, how these overlooked details of our behavior, can impact even a complete stranger.
Three: ‘The time to make up your mind about people is never.’ So that isn’t completely true. There are probably some people, maybe the social outliers, that you can make up your mind about. But it’s easy to forget, especially at our age, that people change. We grow. We can get better, or worse. It’s hard to know in what ways we’ll change. It’s even harder to know how others will. I hope if college has taught you anything, it’s taught you to keep an open mind, to accept differing points of view and not think less of them and, as Steve Jobs famously said, to stay curious.
Jordain Carney is a Traveler columnist.
Her column appears every other Thursday.