I have been a student at the University of Missouri now for almost an entire semester and surprisingly coming home, rather than initially leaving home, has made me feel old. I am back in my hometown of Shawnee, Kan., for the next week, and here I am realizing that I have to do all of these adult things that I kind of forgot about while I was in Columbia, Mo. Thoughts of spring classes (ahhhh!), internships (already?) and jobs (but, I’m only 18) are filling my mind with worry.
I am currently a reporter for the student-run newspaper at Mizzou, and I mentor a seventh grade girl once a week through the Women of Worth mentor program. Still, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the amount of free time I have. In high school, I was that girl who was involved with everything. Every activity I was involved with shaped who I am, and I am grateful for the wonderful high school experience I had.
You know what no one tells you though? None of the things you did in high school matter anymore. I am not trying to seem unappreciative of my high school experiences. Without those four years and some really incredible teachers and mentors along the way, I wouldn’t have half of the confidence, leadership skills or passion I have today. However, on paper and to all of my peers and professors around me, I am nothing.
It is strange to be nothing again after having spent four years trying your best to be something. I feel like that same awkward, shy, excited 15-year-old girl walking into the unknown, except with a little more confidence and a brace-free smile. There is no way to tell people you are capable without sounding arrogant, and there are no shortcuts to prove your ability. Having to reprove myself all over again isn’t really even the issue I have with this whole college thing. I am up for the adventure of trying to be better than my best self in these next four years. However, I am scared of being complacent.
I have been wrestling a lot with the idea of complacency lately. Being in my hometown has forced me to further face the concept. Here, in the suburbs, where everyone seems to be working the same white collar job, I can practically feel the broken dreams oozing out of the perfect white picket fences and flowered gardens. You see, I have this idea in my mind that I can change the world. I want to give people a voice and tell the stories of the weak, oppressed and misunderstood. I seek adventure and the unknown. I want to be a journalist. I couldn’t have asked for a better childhood in Shawnee. An incredible amount of love and fortune makes me feel blessed every day. People here have good lives. However, there is something about a comfortable lifestyle that makes it all the easier to forget about the rest of the bad in the world.
My biggest fear is complacency because the day that I start feeling comfortable in my life will mark the day that I accept defeat. Complete acceptance of my present existence will mean I doubt how my actions can create any future good. So, anyways, in a long, round-about way of saying it, that is why I am creating this blog.
I have specific career aspirations in the field of journalism. I hope to use this blog as a platform for the stories I get to tell in print and for the untold stories my word count wouldn’t allow me to write. Most importantly though, I want to write this blog to prove something to myself. I want to challenge every thought I have and every action I take. I want to ask myself every day if I have showed someone kindness or done some good for the world. This blog is an encouragement to myself.
“My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?” David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas.
Through my journalism and daily actions, I hope to be a drop who makes a difference out there. Every day is a day for a little world shaking.