Friday, March 6, 2009

we must all let go of the breath that we hold

it's so easy to take for granted what i have.  in high school, we're too busy in our TEENAGER LIFE ZOMG to really care about anyone but ourselves. in college, we're surrounded by those who are smart and those who are smarter. of course there will be stupid people who like. run into doors and giggle or something, or sleep around. but for the most part, at tech, they then get up and head off to chem lab. adults consist of crazily intelligent theorists and research pioneers; anyone else tends to be parents. which i have found: my mother has never been wrong about anything where it mattered. stop worrying, i'll say. and then she's proven right. and then she proceeds to cook dinner and do my laundry. 

so given this type of environment, my world is so narrow, like the frog in the well who can only see a small circle of the sky. 

coming here, then, where most of the workers are over 40 with no college experience and doubtful high shcool education, is jarring. because i see how it looks in my mind as i read these words, and it's completely different when i'm surrounded by those actual people

walking in the shop, having a processor explain how the machines work; they cut in with their own comments. they're helpful. kind hearted. they smile, and one of them reaches out with a bucket of gum and urges us to take a few pieces.  some of them will mutter under their breaths about interns, but who could hardly blame them. 

"i'll be timing," i say to one of the guys running a test machine. "cycle time?" he responds, and i nod. the words sound reluctant on his lips, as though he's grasping for understanding. like that annoying kid in your class who asks questions with advanced terminology to seem smarter and suck up to the teacher. only this guy's not annoying. he's curious and grasping for straws because he wants to know something more. then, one of two things.

i never, ever want to take learning for granted. i'm surrounded every day by people two or three times older than me, all of whom probably wish they could have the same education. i know, i just know that when i get back to tech, i'll be complaining like i've done for the past three years about tests and late nights and stupid group projects. especially with senior design coming up soon. but geez, when i think about it now, every day i spent and will spend there suddenly seems so precious. it's both humbling and depressing, realizing where i am but realizing where they are, too.

it was easier when everyone around me was young and capable. to go on thinking this was all there was to the world. a world where everyone is in constant demand for your mind and skills, and your future shines bright with possibility. all we have to do is consent to try a little harder. they don't have that option, and i cringe a little to think of the bitterness they might feel. like how one of my friends came back with a green belt the other day. a second year! and i was like D: D: D: . i imagine it must be about one millionth of what they feel. 

my dad always tells me to appreciate tech, or just college in general, because i don't know how many other people would like to be where i am. but i never-- you know? i never--

until i came here. 

being around these people. their utter unrefined goodness makes me completely reevaluate what i thought the worth of a person was. of course there will be christian learnings in which we supposedly already know this. but i am not so naive as to believe none of us would feel (wrongly) ashamed of being a management major. we've all, at one point, considered ourselves better than our friends. 

i guess what i'm saying is--high school? you know, in that stage where the number of APs they take determines their sense of entitlement and they go on and on about college. and you wanna shake them by the shoulders and say once you get to college, none of that matters. there will be people smoking pot who are preternaturally gifted in computer coding and presidential scholars who write erotic poetry. your APs don't determine your personality, and how successful you'll be. maybe it's a factor, but then, so is everything. and then in college, i feel like someone should have shaken me--shaken all of us-- and said  this doesn't make you better than someone who studies communications at UGA. not better than journalism at georgia state, and not better than management at tech. there's someone hundreds of miles away who never made it past high school, with graying hair and a dirty shirt. he'll pull out a chair for you, and if you're bored he'll go get his rusty 10 year old radio, fish out an extension cord, and plug it in. 

you hear stories like this all the time. but when i realized it, i realized it. it hits with a terrifying clarity, and it's so terrifying because the truth is irrefutable. 

ugh long post is long

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