“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”
Grand Valley is always going to have that screaming, religious-cult guy under the transformational arch. There will always be those outspoken, courageous students who give that man a piece of their minds. There will always be the fascinated bystanders, who tell everyone about the scene later on. Then there will always be the people like me—who just avoid that arch with careful scrutiny, completely sick of the experience.
Grand Valley is always going to look like a sheltered, rolling pasture where the students are sheep— feeding on knowledge. People will always lie out on the grass in front of Kirkhof on a sunny day, admiring the artificial Zumberge pond. They will feel that this is the beginning of the real world. The beginning of being an adult. The beginning of real life.
What I learned at college is that college is nothing like real life. Nothing at all. There are so many things college kids will never be exposed to, and will never understand.
Students will continue to wear their North Face jackets, leggings and Ugg boots to match. As long as we all look the same. Young potential will continue to shovel greasy pizza, which they purchased with a meal plan, into their mouths. They’ll park the car their parents bought for them and run into class, raving about how their life is so hard. How they have so much homework and so many things to do. So much young potential. Everyone looks the same. Acts the same. Feels the same.
Maybe we’re all just the same?
People are actually paying to be part of Greek life. They’re buying their friends. I guess that might be pretty realistic.
Just when I thought all hope was lost, that we would all be pushed out of GVSU like little clones, I witnessed something amazing. Something that gave me hope. Perhaps the safe, fake world of a college campus was more real than I thought.
I was riding the bus, and a man in a lime green jacket was talking loudly to the people around him. A guy sitting across from him was drinking a 99 cent Brisk tea and was plugged into his iPod, tuning out the world. Suddenly the green jacket man yells—
“Now that’s some bang for your buck!”
What I expected to be a polite shrugging off of green jacket turned into the most friendly and encouraging conversation I’ve ever seen on a bus. Three other people around joined in and introduced themselves with genuine interest. At first I thought they knew each other, but they all got off at different stops. Total strangers.
I was in total disbelief. I couldn’t believe that all these people actually took interest in this guy—not because he didn’t deserve it, but because most people wouldn’t. They would be scared, and stare back at the Facebook feed on their iPhones. They wouldn’t take their earbuds out and talk to this guy.
They wouldn’t give a shit because this guy can’t do anything for them. He isn’t part of the formula. He isn’t part of the plan. Girls don’t want to date him, and guys don’t want to be his friend. He’s not status quo.
Clearly I was wrong. There are some people who will get out there and go live their lives. Actually, GVSU encourages that people get hands-on, real-life experience. There are people who will live. Really live.
Which brings me back to Kafka. Obsession—I hate the concept. Yet, we need obsession for great things to happen. If nobody has a passion, nobody will care enough to accomplish anything.
So here’s to hoping everybody finds their obsession, and takes it seriously. Here’s to hoping that people live enriched lives rather than chasing a money train. Here’s to hoping that people really learn something, and cherish their education rather than viewing it as a plague. Here’s to hoping people jump out of the fishbowl and into the ocean.
Because pursuing your obsessions is the only way to get bang for your buck.