Friday, January 8, 2016

The Wasteful Nature of Doing Worthwhile Things

I wish I was a better writer, which is almost the dumbest thing a college student could say, considering I live in one of the few places where writing classes regularly meet only a few hundred yards from my bed. On a more general level of irony, I attend a liberal-arts school, which includes by definition a mission to equip its students with the tools to communicate ideas effectively. It’s my own fault that I’m not a better writer. The explanation is quite tidy: the combined effect of coming to Calvin with English credits and choosing biochemistry as a major conveniently removed English from my curriculum. For three years, I was both relieved and slightly proud of this convenience. Only recently has my evasion of English come back to haunt me.

I am guilty of wasting time, which, I have discovered, is not a victimless crime. I’m awkwardly committed to finishing the things I started at Calvin, which don’t include becoming a better writer. They include taking science classes, captaining the swim team, playing in three bands and working in the Service-Learning Center. Not a waste of time, per se, but one can question the feasibility of it all. I can’t shake the fact that I’m only a passable biochemistry major, an often-aloof captain, an often-passive bandmate, and an often-exhausted-lying-on-the-floor Service-Learning Coordinator. I have chosen to divvy myself up optimistically. The pieces fail to satisfy. Each one screams for more of me.

I am fully aware that I have changed markedly in almost every aspect of my life. Swimming no longer keeps me at Calvin, though it was once the deciding factor to staying here. Though I used to consider grad school in neuroscience a foregone-conclusion, now I plan to pursue a life creating and performing music. Through a growing phase abroad in Hungary, I found a new interest in social justice and a call to be faithfully present in my particular place in society. My semester in Hungary, with its fermenting cocktail of countercultural ideas and people, ultimately led me to the Service-Learning Center.

I know that I will better understand and appreciate my time at Calvin in retrospect, but it provides little consolation right now. The sea-change that occurred about a year ago (while in Hungary) may have reversed my course at Calvin, but there is a lot of ground to be made up. I feel myself hurtling towards the end of my Calvin education, but I don’t feel any conclusions coming into focus. My life is accelerating, but, as the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states, the current moment is too short to accurately determine the direction of change.