When You Find Yourself Between Two Worlds

When I was about halfway through high school, I started to question what I wanted to do with my life. It wasn’t that I felt what I had been doing up until that moment was meaningless, but it was that I recognized that it would become meaningless if I didn’t find a passion that did more than pass the time.

I specifically remember a Ted talk called “Why some of us don’t have one true calling” triggering this thought process. All throughout school, I had been good at everything. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but toot-toot I was pretty damn smart. I maybe struggled in history sometimes, but that was mainly because I found they way it taught to be exceedingly boring. When I began to study history on my own through alternative methods of learning, I found that there are much more interesting ways to learn about the past.

So there was my struggle: I liked everything I did in school. All of the subjects I studied offered me different puzzles and challenges of connections. Even today, I love to find ways that bring in outside ideas such as science, quantum mechanics, anthropology, communications, philosophy, etc. into every paper I write. Every day I solve at least one new puzzle and connect it to another. It’s a game of learning that I am sure many are familiar with.

I have found that this game has never ceased to play out in my mind. As much as I would like to “turn off my brain,” the act of not thinking does not relax me. The problem I face now is that these puzzles are not only connecting to each other, but opening doors to opportunities. For the first time in my life, I’ve realized that just because I might succeed in every door I step through doesn’t mean I can step through them all. 

It was somewhat heartbreaking when I fell in love with philosophy at the same time I fell in love with entrepreneurship. Both concepts are puzzles and I find them to be deeply intertwined. However, my desire to study philosophy at university has impaired my ability to be entrepreneurial or gain experience in the work force and vice-versa.

I have written a good amount about my unhappiness with the McGill administration and organization and I will not take anything I said back. I am still not satisfied with the internal workings of the university. However, what I’ve begun to understand is that my education at McGill has offered me a lot of confidence in my abilities. When I attended a philosophy conference and proudly stated my views on determinism to a professor, I didn’t feel constrained by the hierarchy within academia, I felt disconnected from it. Free from it. Free to exist within it without participating in it.

Now I must decide what to do as I have found myself caught between two worlds. In both spheres, I am not the same as the people that exist within them. In academia, I am cast doubtful looks as I mention my desire to abandon school and pursue something made only out of my own will. In the alternative world, I know I am one of the few who do not hold a contempt or doubt for academia. I don’t blame those who do see university systems in such a way. It’s just not a view I can maintain truthfully.

The answer is that I don’t have to chose, but completing both will take more time than just choosing one. Despite this, I know I am up for the task. I would rather take more time to do everything I want than wake up one day regretting a lost opportunity because I was worried about time. I have far too many years before me to even consider allowing such a tragedy to occur. 

This may be a case of “hurry up and wait” but at least I know the next few years of my life won’t be boring. 

Eloragh 

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The End of Term is The Hardest Part

I’m going to assume that everyone reading this has been to school or is currently in school. Right now, you’re either incredibly excited for Christmas coming up around the corner, or you’re incredibly excited for the end of term. I tend to fall in the latter of those categories.

Christmas is fantastic and every day leading up to the celebration is an excuse to spend time with family and those that you love. However, students will often tell you that the real present is being done with their first semester. It’s akin to four tons of weight being dropped from your shoulders all at once.

University classes are not fun, for the most part. There are a few courses that most colleges will intentionally try to make enjoyable and less soul-crushing, but those are rare and difficult to get in to. Majority of the time, college classes are difficult and unrewarding.

My last two days of classes are December 3rd and 4th. The sun sets incredibly early in Montreal, around 4pm these days. There is certainly a feeling of holiday coziness and warmth, but that feeling creates a desire for home, for comfort. The last week or two of term is the hardest part for both semesters. During the fall, you want to go home for Christmas. During the spring, you want to get out for summer. It’s a waiting game.

This holiday season is full of unknowns for me as I try to figure out how I want to spend the next few years of my life. It seems crazy to try to plan that far ahead, but I like to have some idea of what I want to do or where I want to go. Nothing is set in stone, but there is a picture in my mind of how the path may appear in front of me.

Merry First Day of December.

Eloragh 

The Perfect Blogger

I’ve never claimed that blogging every day would be my goal forever, as much as I would like to think that I have that kind of ambition. Although daily blogging has given me a lot, I realized that it is hard for me to sustain.

Despite this realization, I don’t want to give up. I enjoy writing, I love sharing my thoughts, and I love creating content. Even though I have faced many many bumps along this road, I’m not going to pull over just yet. November is a new month, with new goals, and new opportunities. My November ambition is starting on October 28th.

I’ll be going to AynRandCon next weekend and I am incredibly excited. I have yet to read anything from Ayn Rand (although I am slowly making my way through Atlas Shrugged), but I was impressed by the Ayn Rand Institute’s dedication to young entrepreneur’s and ambitious people who want to connect. I cannot wait to meet so many bright, young minds.

This week, I am working on a paper about consciousness, attending lectures about the anthropology behind immigration, and desperately trying to stay afloat in my French class. Bless my professor’s heart, she is the sweetest, most welcoming woman, but I am starting to wonder if my French is salvageable. If anyone can save it, it’s her.

See you tomorrow.

Eloragh

Collect Yourself, Then Move

These last few weeks have been filled with essays and exams. I’m completely exhausted from every hoop I have had to jump through in October. I decided to take a little time off from school today and do some work on projects outside of academics.

I wrote a piece on Original Path, created a video for a company I really want to work with, and spent some time with people that are very important to me. I took a moment to collect myself before moving on from this difficult but rewarding experience.

Now it’s time to continue on.

Eloragh

When Something Feels Wrong

Today, I sent an email that just felt wrong. It wasn’t that it was written poorly (even though it may have been) or that it was mean, it just wasn’t true to who I was. I sent an email basically saying that I would have to stay in college to make a few things work in the coming years.

This email didn’t seem too daunting when I decided to send it. I thought that my reasoning was perfectly sound, which, in all honesty, it is, but it still doesn’t feel right to me.

One of the main issues I’m having with college is a lack of purpose. Yes, I’m taking classes I enjoy, writing papers, filling out exams, turning in assignments, and showing up for class. every. single. day. Still, nothing feels fulfilling. It’s probably a contributing factor to why my blogs have been so meh. I don’t feel invigorated, therefore, nothing I do is invigorating.

Maybe this will pass with time, or maybe it won’t. Either way, I have decisions to make.

Eloragh

Midterm Season

I have always hated the western school year schedule. I know there are arguments as to why schools choose the 9 months of fall, winter, and spring and allow students to have the summer, but I’ve still thought it was strange. If schools wanted to be more intelligent, they would follow more of a business style of planning and break their year up into 4 quarters, allowing students to chose which quarter they want off.

However, that is not what this blog is about. Midterms are approaching here at McGill and the library is packed with students every hour of every day. They even extended their hours so we can spend more time worrying about how we’re only halfway through the semester and we’ve forgotten what we learned at the beginning of our classes.

I’ve never struggled with tests. I probably approach them too casually, in all honesty. It’s not that I don’t see the point in studying like mad or that I think I’m above the stress of it all, it’s just never gotten to me. I did ok on my SAT, pretty good on my ACT, and got enough AP credits to finish my entire McGill freshman program without ever stepping foot in a lecture hall. That’s a decent record in my book.

Tomorrow morning, I am attending a cycling class at 7am, getting to the library by 8am, and will continue to study until 9:35am, when I will head over to the McConnell Engineering building to get to my Anthropology class. From 10:05 to 11:25, I will participate in an exam that consists of 7 long answer questions that will test my knowledge and application of concepts such as structural functionalism and legal pluralism.

Not to jinx myself or sound like an arrogant little freshman, but these concepts are all bark and no bite. Their names definitely sound intimidating, but they have no depth to them. Their definitions are in their names. Despite feeling incredibly confident for this exam, I can’t help but remember a concept that has proven to be true numerous times in my life: The more confident you feel in how you did, the more likely you are to be disappointed by the outcome.

To elaborate on that idea, I will offer an example. I took a French quiz right before I left for Austin. I was the first one in my class to finish and felt incredibly confident in my answers. I got a 70% on that test. Not too bad for one of my first college quizzes, but it definitely wasn’t the A I was expecting.

So, that’s why I will continue to study. I may have an arrogant voice inside my head, but I can choose when to listen to it.

Eloragh

Disengagement from the Complex

There’s this class at McGill called Introduction to Communications. Now, when a university says “communications” what it really means is “we pretty much think all media is evil and out to corrupt you.” I think this is definitely an exaggeration, but take a class and tell me if I’m wrong.

The end of the semester is approaching pretty quickly, midterms are just on the horizon. We have our final exam schedule, but I only have two. My other two classes involve a final project to finish the curriculum. In my communications conference today, we were put into groups and asked to decide what form of media we wanted to analyze.

I suggested Blockchain technology because of its future impact on security and eliminating the need for trust between humans during transactions and record keeping. No one was interested in this, unfortunately, so I ended up being grouped with the girls that wanted to study Instagram influencers. I thought that platform would offer the best opportunity to incorporate some element of Blockchain tech.

When I left to go home, I remember thinking on the train that there was a disconnection from the idea of exploring the complex. Those girls did nothing wrong, they simply chose a subject they were familiar with and felt that they would do well with. However, I have never seen education or academics as a place for familiarity or comfort. I have always seen projects and assignments as opportunities to explore something I don’t know.

Maybe I’m more curious than the typical college student. My reasoning is that if I’m going to do a project, I might as well have some fun along the way. I’ve been curious about Blockchain technology for a long time and have been making little efforts to learn more about it. I thought a major final project would be the perfect motivation I needed to spark my engagement with the subject.

I was quick to realize that this is not the mindset that inhabits most of my classmates. Instagram is something 99% of teenage girls are familiar with, so picking that as their final project was probably a no-brainer. In all honesty, I have no doubt that I will do well on this project, but I also have no doubt that I will not learn a single thing along the way.

College and education in general, seem to promote this idea of “just pick the easiest route and get it done.” Although I can 100% understand the desire to chose the path of least resistance, I can’t bring myself to agree with the idea that it should be promoted in an academic setting. The more we push people to just go with the most comfortable option, the more we distance and disengage ourselves with the ability to begin to understand something more complex.

As time goes on and this practice continues, I fear that the human capacity for learning will decrease. If we all learn only what we must know to survive and are incapable of finding a desire to explore anything else, our intellect will surely begin to shrink.

As I said before, I don’t think those girls who chose the project did anything wrong, but I do pity them. They’re putting in the minimum amount of effort and turning their nose up at any opportunity to expand their knowledge. Once they leave a university setting, I’m sure they’ll have a hard time finding flexibility and a willingness to learn again.

Eloragh