“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style” -Maya Angelou
I’m currently sitting in Bass Library, an underground library on Cross Campus, while I race against deadlines, midterms, and the occasional problem set. Racing is what I’ve been doing my entire life, what we all do. We race against time; we race towards the finish line, whatever that may be. Every week, I race past my daily french class, calculus problem sets, and my weekly biology quizzes. I even manage to race past my freshman seminar, The Art of Watercolor. I don’t mean to count the days (hours) until the weekend; it just happens. Like Maya Angelou, I often have to remind myself to not merely survive, but to thrive.
My activities are varied. I recently was offered a position as a Peace Coach in the Teaching Peace Initiative. GPI is a nonprofit that works with high schoolers across the country to promote tolerance, open-mindedness, and compassion. As a Peace Coach, I will work directly with smaller teen groups to help improve their surrounding communities on topics such as race, religion, and sexuality. On the other hand, I am also on Yale’s Club Tennis team. We have a Battle of the Sections tournament this weekend in Delaware! I’m still figuring out what other extracurriculars I’d like to be a part of… (Chi Alpha, Greek Life, Yale Democrats, Yale Daily News, a Law firm internship, shadowing an Orthopedic Surgeon, etc) These activities are all things I am passionate about.
Compassion is defined as concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. It’s not hard to wake up in the “Yale Bubble”. This bubble is trademarked as being oblivious to the happenings and changes outside of Yale. Even when your window looks out onto the New Haven Green (like mine does..) where a large homeless population lives, people inside the Yale Bubble see only a patch of green. People like me forget to look harder.
Anyone who knows me can vouch for my absolute love of strong, black coffee. This is the kind of coffee dining halls shy away from, so occasionally, I go to Blue State/Starbucks for a quick fix. I usually bring a problem set to work on… One day said problem set became drenched in my hot cup of coffee! I first thought about the unnecessary coffee waste. I sat for a solid minute wishing I could reverse time. However, the time race is constant, so I did what only sleep-deprived college kids would do: I laughed.
Maya Angelou was right when she said thriving is better than surviving. In order to thrive, I think people have to find a passion bigger than themselves. They have to race hard but also remember that not everything is a mile marker. Not every suffering and misfortune should be raced past. Sometimes, we have to stop and see past the Green. Who knows what we’ll see?
*I took the above photo at a coffee shop in London.
*Disclaimer: the above drink is a cappuccino