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homecoming

I have an underlying theory there are people we will fall in love with, deeply, regardless of whether they end up loving us back. Unrequited love is no earth-shattering idea. I know that. Yet I can’t seem to escape this idea that maybe there are people which Time flat-out ignores. We see them—perhaps many months later—and we’re transported back to the first time the idea of loving them really struck us. Namely, you pick up right where you left off.

Part of my homecoming from college took place last night, watching the student-directed shows I had been part of not too long ago. Maybe that was the scariest part: I walked in, and it seemed as though I had never left. But I had. It doesn’t take much time among current high schoolers to figure out that while people may be happy to see you, the focus is on those here and now—not the generations of alumni which have already been churned through the system and then shuffled along to the rest of their lives (which, in fairness, is not inherently bad). It was here amidst my hometown friends on the cusp of graduating I received a reminder of a past one-sided love. One of the shows centered itself on a character named Rachel, reeling from her not-so-recent breakup with her ex-boyfriend Ben (the play takes place fourteen months past it, I believe). As she fails time and time again to break down for the audience the real story about what happened, she eventually caves and divulges a truth equal parts painful and beautiful. When she later runs into Ben and his girlfriend-turned-wife at a coffee shop, she can’t help but note his tenderness, the sheer amount of care in his eyes for his beloved. Along the same lines, her truth is this: she dumped Ben those fourteen months earlier because she had never drawn out this side to him. They very well may have been in love at the time of their relationship, but not deeply. That’s why she shoved him out of her life, despite wanting badly beyond measure for him to remain steadfast, to stay. She realized their love was flawed, that she couldn’t ignite the same spark in him.

Part of my prodigal but also short-lived homecoming from college has meant I’m on a time crunch to catch up with those I love who are still here—all the while I’m still here and not in Europe, California, or Iowa, as my summer will later show. One of these people—the one I apparently couldn’t leave in high school—always leaves me in pursuit, and sometimes it sickens me to think of just how easily I could be wrapped around his finger. While I’m seated in this auditorium I once called home, applauding him and all of my other friends on stage, I can’t help but feel that, in some way, I am Rachel. I watch as his eyes light up at the sight of her, a beautiful girlfriend for a beautiful person. There’s his demure smile, his arm circumnavigating its way around her shoulders. It’s clear he really cares for her, and it’s a tough but equally happy sight to behold. Just as Rachel realizes and eventually ingests her truth, I, too, shall do so with mine. Even though this boy by whom I’ve been smitten is here and, for a moment, in my arms as we hug and spin for the first time after my prolonged absence, I know love is never a light in which he’ll look at me. If our relationship is a colorful painting, the canvas is layered with honest, brilliant shades of friendship, camaraderie, brotherhood. But never love. I wonder if this color scheme eventually led to my downfall.

I left the auditorium last night with soft weights pressing against my heart. Once I started my car engine, I drove the long way home. I let Rachmaninoff play. For a breathless moment, I washed myself in all of the emotions which had bubbled up all at once. Grieving, briefly, at the embarrassment of having part of my heart trapped in high school by him and at the death of any miscreant hopes which remained in my mind, I eventually resigned to let the dead bury the dead. Nevertheless, it looks like my theory about a one-sided plunge into the deep end of love can be true. I just hope it’s not too hard to dry off and maybe try a different pool—or, in Rachel’s case, a different coffee shop.

Cheers,

Vince

SOTW: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18: I. Moderato – Sergei Rachmaninoff

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conversations

It’s in the midst of a hazy October evening. I’m perched atop a metal picnic table, phone in hand. Luckily for me, the air around me isn’t heavy, weighed down by the heat of the now-fading summer. Rather, it merely persists, ubiquitously suspended all around me. I’m waiting for my friend to call, as I let him know a little while ago I hadn’t been feeling too great. A combination of the school day’s events and the lugubrious realization that yet another boy I had been talking to wasn’t interested resulted in a wholly-effective energy drain. My phone—and, inadvertently, my hand—spasms. Looks like he just finished up with his meeting.

“Hey, what’s up? You alright?”

I’m on my back now, looking up at the sky, all sprawled out on the picnic table without the slightest care in the world. At least it was dark enough outside where people wouldn’t really see me. As I laid there supine, I remember thinking if it weren’t for all of this light pollution, I’d be able to see the stars out tonight.

“I don’t know.” It’s not like I knew what else to mention. He was listening, but I struggled simply making myself heard.

“You don’t know what?”

“I guess I’m tired,” I say, even though it’s only 9 o’clock at night. “I’m tired of crashing and burning. I’m looking and looking for someone, but, at the end of the day, my hands are still clasping nothing but themselves.”

He pauses a little bit, starts talking, stops, then starts again. “I think part of it is that you’re actively looking for someone to fall in love. Your blinders are on. If the only scope with which you’re looking at people is whether or not you could fall in love with them, you’re laying down a trap only to get yourself caught in it shortly afterwards. The problem isn’t the person you’re talking to—it starts with your mindset, before you’ve even done the talking.”

Moments later: “It’s almost self-defeating, what you’re doing to yourself. The issue is you don’t realize you’re doing it.”

I spent the rest of that night thinking about what he said, digesting it, breaking it down.

This would be the first of many “deeper” conversations I would have, prorated all throughout the year. I can remember the particularly powerful ones and where they took place: on the picnic bench, around a campfire at a local state park, in the far back of the library, our backs to the massive glass panes behind us. Each of these conversations stemmed from an observation, or perhaps from a question which required more than a ready-made answer. In either case, these dialogues and exchanges of ideas remain pungent in my mind, and I can attest to a couple of reasons why.

First of all, it makes me happy knowing these meaningful conversations are  happening more often. Certain individuals have worked their ways into my life, and what they bring with them is a curiosity against which I can sharpen my own. They always ask questions. They refuse to let things slide without at least an attempt at an explanation. The conversation itself comes about as a result of topics which don’t have clear answers.

I’ve never struggled at holding a conversation. Introducing myself to strangers, prodding people with more questions to keep it going—these are all tricks of the trade I’ve developed, readily available whenever I need them. What’s stunning about them, however, is the stark resemblance of one interaction to another. Call them facsimiles or whatever you like, but, as these dialogues become an increasingly common currency, I can’t help but feel like some interactions are more or less vacuous, never extending beyond name, major, and hometown. They are conversations all the same—simply on different levels.

The rising threat of vacuous dialogues has made clear just how much I value the simple act of people talking to people. I have friends who, every Sunday evening, meet for tea, to simply catch up. No studying. No frivolities. It’s just one person trying to better understand the other, and I admire this practice for its simplicity.

With all of this in mind, I’m trying to push myself to transition into having more meaningful conversations with those around me. Recently, I went out for brunch with one of my friends, and he told me he was really enjoying himself. I asked why. “I feel like people just don’t talk anymore,” is what he said. What does talking entail? For me, it means doing more than just flirting my way into people’s lives. If I want to be taken seriously and let others know I’m intent on moving beyond my self-imposed flirting barrier, I need to communicate I can do more than just hit on them.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what the driving point of this blog post is. I’ve struggled to write this, and maybe that says I’m fundamentally still in the works of figuring out where I stand in all of this. I just have thoughts on conversations, and that I want mine to matter more. Maybe I’m struggling to define what matters? In either case, I’m in the process of learning how to add meaning to my interactions, going beyond what’s comfortable for me at times. I think people are endlessly interesting, imbued with stories to tell and philosophies on which to percolate. I’m endlessly and hopelessly fascinated by people, so I think starting to know them beyond the scope of a flirting partner will be a good start.

Cheers,

Vince

SOTW: “Ringleader” — The Madison Letter

This week’s YouTube video:

 

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dynamic duo

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Summer in St. Charles.

Today, I’m missing home a little more than I usually do. I was struggling for the longest time with trying to come up with something to write for this week, and, as I wracked my brain—seemingly barren of inspiration when I needed it most—I went for a brisk walk down memory lane and stumbled upon this. It’s a picture I took of one of my best friends from back home before leaving for college. Taking place in downtown St. Charles, IL, the city itself has become embedded with some of my fondest memories—this one included. Mimicking the art, I think this picture captures him well: dorky, enigmatic. He and I had an interesting relationship, beginning at the very advent of our high-school careers. In many ways, we are opposite people: he is level-headed, analytical, a think-before-you-speak kind of guy. I, on the other hand, am driven by emotions. I am a verbal communicator. I am a person who’ll throw any number of (metaphorical) things against the wall, waiting to see what sticks. Where I’m absolutely off the walls with energy and ideas, he is the scaffolding on which I steadied myself. He is the type to think things through, following each path to the very end, no matter how many times it may branch out. He is the concrete, and I am the abstract. This isn’t to say we shared no similarities, however. We were both musically-involved, study partners for our AP classes, and a dynamic duo who managed to keep our entire school in a state of confusion, questioning whether or not we were actually dating.

Thinking back on our dynamic, there was many an instance I found myself in the school’s shoes, questioning what sort of relationship there was between us. As you can imagine, it placed me in a real emotional predicament, wholly unsure of what to do. I shoved my feelings under the carpet for a while, letting our senior year play out without saying anything. Come graduation, my mindset shifted and was turned upon its head. The reality of our inevitable separation had hit me. After this summer, we would be distanced by however far Wisconsin is from Iowa.  It didn’t help he worked all the time, a lifeguard whose time ran short, like an hourglass without enough sand. The added complication of my own job as a sushi chef cut into our schedules as well, making his company in my summer even scarcer. With all of these conflicts in mind, I saw a closing window of opportunity to get off my chest what I had meant to tell him after so long.

Eventually, I asked him to meet up with me one morning over the summer at one of my favorite coffee shops from back home. Bless his heart—he doesn’t even like coffee, but he came regardless. We sat down, and, nervously, I spilled out what I’d wanted to say all throughout high school.

Once I managed to let the words out, he paused for a little bit.

Then here came his level-headedness, his rationality: we talked about it. Nothing was awkward, except for maybe when I kept messing up what I wanted to say. We talked through what I felt, our dynamic, and what our friendship means to the both of us. After that conversation, I ended up not seeing him for a couple days, but when we finally reconvened, we had picked up right where we left off. Coming home on breaks from college was fundamentally the same, as if nothing had even skipped a beat. After all, people still sometimes question if something is going on between us, and the dynamic of our duo continues as lively as ever.

I guess when I say I miss home, it’s not quite accurate. The sentence doesn’t capture what I’m really saying. I miss people like him who made my experience back home in St. Charles what it was. So, to my friends near and far, I truly, sincerely hope all is treating you well.

Cheers,

Vince

SOTW: “Piano Concerto in A-minor” — Edvard Grieg

Also, here’s this week’s YouTube video. I hit on my friends, and here’s how it turned out (translation: about four minutes of awful pick-up lines).

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thinking at the spillway

It’s only a few minutes shy of 4:30, and my friends and I have found ourselves on a detour in Johnston, IA, standing over the rush of the spillway. Whenever I think back to this moment, I’m left with a piquant disposition, smiling at the simplicity of what could otherwise be interpreted as a rather mundane moment. Bringing in water from the lake directly at our backs, the tunnel, a behemoth, roars with all of the water rushing through it. Man-made, powerful, I peer over the edge of the railing–ultimately defeating the railing’s only purpose–and am overcome by the rawness of the water’s energy. Winter, however, still took its toll, and its presence can be seen through the icicles lining the tunnel’s edges. With the sound of rushing water flooding my ears, I close my eyes.

I breathe in.

 

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To the right: Brandon & Grace. To the left: the spillway and its icicles.

If you ever ended up leafing through my collection of past journals, you would find my thoughts on the difficulties of romance, my place in the world, my insecurities I’m still learning to accept and work through. Now, as I encroach on my nineteenth revolution around the sun, my hope is my journals will begin to change, reflecting my metamorphosis from an emotional glass cannon to something with greater maturity, stability, and foundation. When I’m older, I’d like to look back at my life and journals, reminiscing over past stories, travels, and powerful experiences like standing on the edge of the spillway whose current could very easily swallow me whole. My library of journals, as it stands, is a dossier of boys and insecurities, but as I write this post, I’m realizing I can live for so much more.

One of my greatest fears is for my writing to become vacuous, dismissible. After all, I pride myself on writing, and for my own blog nonetheless. With that in tow, I’ve learned about myself that my strengths may not necessarily root themselves in numerical analysis or systemic research. My brain leans heavily on the left, which makes sense, as I’ve always been a stalwart of the humanities. By really taking time to think about it, my loves and my passions have always been tied to musicality, to reading, to dancing, and, of course, to writing. I acknowledge I may not be on the verge of developing new environmentally-friendly chemical compounds or curing global diseases, but these factors will not militate against my quest to mean something to myself, to those I love, and to the world around me.

My writing has always been one of my favorite strengths, and here’s why. It is a feeling unlike any other when someone reaches out to me regarding something I’ve written, saying something along the lines of “this hit really close to home” or they see themselves “in my shoes.” Making connections from human to human through a medium like writing is an underrated experience. Beyond the societally-imposed goals of pursuing a “sustainable career” or “success,” I still see value in writing and story-telling. I see value in taking a single moment, breaking it down to its atoms, and explaining the why behind why it matters. When we do this, we share our experiences with others. That’s when connection happens.

It should go without saying then that from now on, I will hold myself to a higher standard of writing–far beyond the trivialities of a daily routine which prevents many from looking at the big picture. I’m framing my thoughts in ink and pixels for others to see. As sung in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, there are so many things I haven’t done, so many things I haven’t written. Just you wait, world–I have yet to leave my mark on you. I will find a way to make my writing matter, to make myself matter. The fundamental human truth, after all, is that we all do.

Cheers,

Vince

SOTW: “1978” — Germany Germany

Also, here’s this week’s YouTube video if you want to see what kind of antics I was up to in Des Moines the other day.

 

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sober thoughts

When I was younger, I deplored drinking in all its forms. Perhaps it was the permeating scent of liquor assaulting my nostrils every time one of my drunk “uncles” opened their mouths (in Filipino culture, everyone is somehow “related” to you). After nights laden with wine and beer, I could only watch as the adults around me shriveled up and laid supine on the nearest soft surface, comatose. Their energies rose and fell, following the highest crests and the lowest valleys, almost as if tracing a bell curve. Young and impressionable, I balled my hands into fists and swore to myself in those moments I would never end up like them: the out-of-control and boisterous centers-of-attention. Yet, here I am, seated across from a boy as kind as he is unknowable. My heart catches in my chest as the music and conversation around me go out of focus, much like a novice photographer playing with manual settings for the first time.

“Get drunk with me,” he pleads, his eyes of oceanic depths, holding my gaze. “Just for tonight.”

I’m taken back to moments of ambiguity, helpless, as memories convulse in front of me. I see myself in Reza’s—a Middle-Eastern restaurant in downtown Chicago—raising my glass of water in union with the bride and groom’s glasses of champagne, my eardrums overwhelmed with whoops and cheers for the newlyweds. I see myself seated at the kitchen table, accompanied by my drunk “uncle” in the midst of drinking his problems away, half-listening as his words trip over each other while recounting the reasons his family is splintering apart for the hundredth time. Then, there I am, driving in the dead of night, seated in my Honda Civic with my volume all the way up, my windows all the way down, singing until my lungs are begging me to stop and breathe in the air they’re desperately awaiting to taste.

Catharsis.

Here, I remember wondering why anyone would need alcohol to feel free when you can drive and drive and drive until your engine gives out.

For whatever reason, it’s in these moments—filled with recklessly loud music and swaddled by the dusk—I feel the most clarity. Maybe the solitude is freeing, having no expectations to uphold or to break. Maybe the act of driving strikes the perfect balance of busying my body just enough to let my mind wander freely, aimlessly, like a will-o-wisp of lore bumbling about without my mental barriers and inhibitions. Pondering drinking and alcohol, I’m torn between thinking its nature is derogatory as much as it is celebratory. Before I know it, I’m back aboard the Norwegian Pearl, surrounded by the ocean, looking out at the setting sun, clinking glasses of moscato with my mother as we celebrate her birthday. Then I’m standing back, watching, mortified for my friend as he vomits into the toilet, knowing he didn’t pace himself, that he wanted to drink his stress away.

At a collegiate level, whenever I’ve asked someone why they drink, the answers tend to follow an eerily similar pattern: to black out, to lose themselves. But why lose yourself when you’re only beginning to find yourself? Isn’t that what college is for? This is the part which has always confused me about binge drinking: wanting to be overcome with the sensation of not knowing who you are or what you’re doing, watching from a faraway room as a stranger with your face takes over your body, only to be rudely brought back to the present, vomiting in the cold embrace of a trash can or a toilet—if you’re lucky. Somehow, the collegiate experience—or maybe even the high school experience, depending on how early one starts—has found alcohol revolving around its center. There are, granted, those who offer more moderate answers, simply sipping on something in a social setting or to “take the edge off,” whose standpoints I find more relatable.

This isn’t to say I’m condemning binge drinkers, partiers, or anyone of the sort—I recognize it’s not my place to do so. Rather, my aim is to understand their “why.” I want to know the cognition, the thought process behind the decisions they make. At the end of the day, it’s important to acknowledge the world isn’t divisible into one big dichotomy between drinkers and non-drinkers—there are too many factors which come into play. But the reason I actively pursue this “why,” the reason it’s so important to me, is empathy. I want to practice empathy. My goal is to understand, to acknowledge, to figure out the clockwork behind people’s minds.

Slowly, the universe cranks up the volume again, crossfading Alt-J’s quirky music and the conversations around me back to normal. I’m still locking eyes with the boy with the blue eyes. With all of the thoughts rushing like a river through my mind, I muster up a handful of words. “I can’t tonight—I’m sorry,” I tell him. I take a sip of my tea in the thermos I brought from home.

I’m sorry I can’t bring myself to get drunk.

But, you know what? I’m not sorry for coming.

The night turns out to be cozy, intimate—one with some of the most interesting, intellectual people I have the honor of being around. We reminisce about stories from high-school, recount others from college, (swing) dance until our feet ache, and feast on fondue until late the next morning. We discourse on our philosophies, our love lives, our aspirations, and I eventually indulge them to make me a “mocktail,” a hearty mix of pineapple juice and a night full of conversation, laughing to myself as they collectively struggle to pour my drink without spilling. Sometimes, a drink can be tastefully done, and a night can be made. At the end of the day, I suppose alcohol isn’t inherently bad. It’s the way in which people use it. Intention really does make all the difference.

Cheers,

Vince

SOTW: “Hymn for the Weekend – Seeb Remix” — Coldplay

s/n: here’s the link for my YouTube video this week!

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exposure

Looking around, it’s not hard to find happy, heterosexual couples in the world around you. For those who fall into the “hetero” majority, that’s all well and good: they typically never have to worry about finding models after which to emulate relationships, family life, and other later life elements. For LGBT+ couples, unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Truth be told, the number of LGBT+ individuals I know is an overwhelmingly small number–even smaller in regards to those with families and kids. I was scared for a while that this acute lack of role models would eventually place me into a state of paralysis, wondering in crippling fear whether I would ever be able to have a family of my own. That’s a scary thought, you know? While I’d like to think I do a good job of thinking about my life in the long-term, thoughts of marriage and raising kids never seem to cross my mind. So, coming to the “realization” a life as an LGBT+ individual, with a spouse, with kids, is one completely up for grabs scared me pretty bad.

In situations such as these, deprived of representation of your own minority group, it becomes painful after a while to watch all of the others around you unknowingly take advantage of a benefit they never knew they had: presence. Whether or not I found people to explain these fears and concerns of mine was never the issue. The issue came down to this: I never saw LGBT+ families around me, so what hope was there for me to have my own? Did these types of families even exist?

While mired in this pit of forecasted sadness, simply by sheer accident, I stumbled onto a YouTube video by Matt and Blue called “Welcome To Our Pride.” In this video, they elaborate on their life as a couple; they are gay, married, and thriving. Furthermore, they have a kid—Crow, who just might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen—as part of their family.

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A screenshot of Matt, Blue, and Crow (from left to right) from their video “Welcome To Our Pride.”

It didn’t take long for me to get sucked into the rest of their channel. I watched video after video, taking in all of the facets of their lives they’ve shared with the Internet. As I learned about their family life, their dynamic, and their mission to spread love and understanding with their videos, I couldn’t help but ponder just how foreign their lives seemed to me. I guess I felt estranged from their lifestyle because I was so unfamiliar with it, so unexposed to it. The brutal irony, of course, is they are living what I can only hope will become a reality for me one day. As time goes on, my aim is to bring myself closer to their lifestyle. How? Not quite sure yet. I’m working on it. I will say, though, that I look forward to the day where I can look back at where I am now, worried and frightened at 18 I’ll never find love or raise a kid, and then laugh about it. I’ll be able to joke my fears had always been out of proportion.

Bringing it back to Matt and Blue, watching this video and seeing them reveal this adopted child of theirs to their viewers for the first time triggered some emotions—overwhelmingly happy ones at that. Seeing a married, thriving LGBT+ couple made me emotional. Maybe a better way to put it is I think the entirety of the situation made me emotional. Luckily, I learned recently that there’s nothing wrong with being emotionally intelligent, and, consequently, I started to tear up a little. It was a powerful moment for me. I found proof families like them exist. Namely, I saw hope for my future.

Long story short, I’m glad I found Matt and Blue. They gave me something for the future I want to cling onto very dearly: that is, hope for my future as an LGBT+ individual. My sexuality hasn’t doomed me to a life of solitude or a lack of family. Instead, my life can still be filled with love, with joy, with all of the warm, fuzzy feelings you get knowing you’ll have married your best friend. With this kind of hope held very dearly to my heart, maybe the future won’t be too bad after all.

Cheers,

Vince

SOTW: “Self Control” — Frank Ocean

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first semester reflections

Previously unbeknownst to me, the vast openness of my schedule now that my first semester of college is over is, for a lack of better words, overwhelming. There are no final exams to study for, no classes to put myself ahead in. So, what better time than now to sit down and really think about what this first semester has taught me?

From an academic standpoint, I learned about a couple of things: focusing on vowels in choir, discovering my deep-seated love for psychology, experimenting with different forms of swing dancing, acquiescing to a roommate, and obtaining boys’ numbers without obtaining dates. Taking this into a broader sense, I also happened to learn a handful of Iowans distinguish “supper” from “dinner” with the latter being a more formal event. They also like to crack jokes about Ankeny, IA, and, for whatever reason, there’s a strong fixation on corn. The process of “detasseling” was described to me as “keeping corn from having sex with itself,” and to mention the Hawkeyes in Cyclone territory is grounds for social expulsion. Everyone hates on the inconsistency of the weather, the Orange 23 campus bus route is everyone’s best friend, and apparently people forget Ames has a downtown. Iowa State, in other words, has taught me quite a bit—both academically and otherwise.

Despite its intrinsic quirks, good ol’ Iowa State is slowly creeping its way into my definition of “home.” While I will say dining center food holds no candle to home-cooked meals, there’s a certain comfort which comes from routine meals or living on a friendly floor. Talking with a friend about this, we then came to the conclusion that coming home after living away at college is a weird experience. It’s surreal, actually, seeing how, in your absence, many things have changed while just as many things have remained untouched by time. Construction on buildings you never thought would finish reached its conclusion; stoplights pop up in places there were none. Incidentally, this brings me to my next point: days in college pass by in the blink of an eye. Student schedules tend to be jam-packed with classes and clubs galore, along with other things like working out and having time to yourself (which is a must). One moment you’re working at 6:15 in the morning and the next you’re about to head to bed once it hits 11 o’clock. Everything else about your day is a blur.

Now, if anything about me has withstood the test of time and has held true in my transition from high school to college, it’s that I’m still wholly fascinated with getting to know as many people as possible. I do this in a multitude of ways—the simplest being a brief handshake and introduction—but knowing the person requires one thing in particular. Questions. I ask lots of questions. When I convince someone to sit down with me for coffee, for a meal, for whatever, I pick their brain. Moving beyond the typical conversation fodder—name, major, where on/off campus are you living—I like to ask about more open-ended topics. Questions like the following are fair game whenever I sit down with someone for the first time:

  • What do you want to do with your major?
  • What made you want to come to this school?
  • If you could go anywhere after graduating, where would you go?
  • What’s your ideal job?
  • Where’s your family from? Do you have any traditions?

It’s not quick-fire answers where you learn about a person’s cognition or opinions—it’s when you have them think, speculate, forecast. And if I feel like they have more to say, I’ll indulge them. I’ll ask why. Questions aren’t just for getting to know other people though. They can also pry into our own minds, our cognition. Throughout the semester, I found myself questioning my major(s), my career path, my future, my interests, my friends, my routines. Self-doubt, I’m afraid, isn’t uncommon for students trying to figure themselves out. What to do with this doubt? Experiment. Try different clubs. Hang out with different people. What’s the worst that could happen—you learn something about yourself? As far as I’m concerned, that’s a win in my book.

While I’m sort-of just brain-dumping all of my thoughts into this post, there’s a couple of other things I want to take time to elaborate on. Moving beyond high-school, your life becomes inundated with choices: getting enough sleep or staying up with friends until 2 a.m; working a part-time job or leaving time for more personal pursuits; partying on weekends or maybe not partying at all. This is by no means an exhaustive list of decisions faced in college, but each one plays a role in your new, malleable sense of self. While a handful of these choices can come down to a spur-of-the-moment decision, I’ve been thinking a lot lately, and I’ve realized it’s important to have a conscious intention behind each decision you make. Empty decisions swallow your identity whole into that gargantuan concept of the  generic “college student.” How closely you align with those expectations is up to you, and no one path is better than any other. All the possible ways you can take your college identity have their merits as well as their prices, so, it’s important that you’re setting yourself up for an identity you’ll be content with.

My first semester flew by in a matter of what seems to be seconds. Knowing this, I’ve found it’s important to sit down and put things on pause. Journal. Treat yourself to a coffee date for one. Take in the world as it is. You are breathing. You are here. You are learning. It’s easy to let time pass you by; it’s harder to make time work for you. There’s no harm in thinking about where you are, where you want to go. After all, if there’s anything I’ve learned this semester, it’s to have intention behind all that you do.

Cheers,

Vince

SOTW: “RISE (Katy Perry Cover)” — SUPERFRUIT, Mary Lambert, Brian Justin Crum, Mario Jose