Opinions, Column

Look Up And Experience The Life Around You

Stop. Look here. Listen.

This is a rallying cry, a fervid address, a fierce soliloquy, a vehement homily. This is not a newspaper article, an opinions column, a Heights production. Look before you. Look around you. Observe. The music playing in your dorm. The espresso machine sputtering in the Chocolate Bar. The bells chiming as you lay in the grass. The silence that envelops the library.

Observe. This is your life. Your life is more than printed words on a page, newspaper folded together, eyes scanning this line. This line, this article, this paper is not your life. Do you understand?

There is an underlying and singular stigma at Boston College: have everything together.

That is it. Forget everything else you know. There is no such thing as the BC hook-up culture—people decide to date. There is no such thing as the BC look-away—just as many people wave hello. People don’t always dress in button-ups and chinos—sweatpants are extremely common. There’s just as many people that don’t drink as those that do—the latter is just more vocal. Not everyone comes from a wealthy family—many struggle with money. For those that decide to drink, hook-up, and dress up for class, they do so because they want to. Rarely does a student here change his or her appearance to fit in—that being said, there are always deviations from a pattern.

The one thing that is constant on this campus—and most likely at other top-tier schools—is that you need to have everything together. Know your major. Have the right friends. Have a life plan. Three years. Ten years. Secure a stellar internship. Land a stellar job.

This is a rallying cry. A fervid address. A fierce soliloquy. A vehement homily. Don’t have everything together. Don’t always have a plan. Accept the forces that be. Be adaptable. Look before you. Look around you. Observe. Everyone fakes it until they make it. Those who have a major don’t know what to do with it. Those who don’t have a major don’t know where they will find one. Accept that you are faking it, too, because even if you think you have a plan, you have no idea what is going to happen when your eyes open tomorrow. You don’t know what’s going to happen when your eyes look away from this line, in this article, in this newspaper.

Mind you, this is not a rallying cry to let go of the rope, to plunge through the glass, to not give a damn. Not having everything together means that you need to figure it all out. That’s what college is. That’s the point of all of this. You’re not supposed to have it all together, but you’re supposed to figure it out. Figure it out by being uncomfortable. Don’t settle for comfortable mediocrity, because comfortable mediocrity will sedate you. Wake up.

Do you understand? This is your life. Your life. Do whatever you damn well please, as long as you can stand by it with a firm mind. Be vulnerable. Stop searching for approval, support, compliments, praise. That will take you nowhere. Whatever it is—science, math, literature, history—that hammers at your heart and beats at your brain, you have a duty to do it. Burn a bridge as often as you build one. Tie your shoes tight and make sure you use them. Be self-educated. Read the books no one assigns you.
Look now. Look around—this isn’t eternity. Be bold and roar into the days, into the nights. This is a rallying cry. The time is now, so you must, you must begin to admit that you don’t have it all together.

Don’t go thinking that just because I’m writing this article that I’m wholesomely straightforward, brilliantly in tune with myself, or completely accepting that I don’t know where my life will go. I just present ideas and questions, and I’m faking it.
Do you understand? Stop saying you do. Start saying you don’t. The points I presented above could be proven baseless tomorrow, or next week, or next year. One point, though, will always hold true:

This article is not everlasting. It is just print on paper. It will be recycled. It will be forgotten. If you’re reading this on a computer, this article will be gone the second you close the tab. The Internet will supposedly hold this article forever in an archive, but one day, the Internet will be recycled, too.

You’ll be recycled one day. Yes, you. Look before you. Look around you. Observe. Everyone you see will be recycled, one day.
In the meantime, this is a rallying cry, a fervid address, a fierce soliloquy, a vehement homily—inhale the chaos. Let it fill your lungs.

Featured Image by Emily Fahey / Heights Editor

October 2, 2014