It’s 2 am during 9th week. Instead of writing the essay that’s due on Friday or working on that massive project for my Art History class, I’m up contemplating what I’ve learned over the last 3 years at Carleton. There’s one year left, right? One year before the “real world” comes barreling in and I’m awake at 2:20 am thinking about what I’ve learned... Smart.
A personal hero of mine once said that at the end of the day, any type of work you do comes down to shoveling poop and that the only way you’re going to enjoy that job day after day is if to you, this job feels like eating cake. Aside from the rather painful image of cake and poop side by side he made a point that is worth remembering. At some level everything you do will turn into a routine and the only way you can escape that monotony is being so passionate about the thing(s) you do that it does not matter if it is routine or exciting, because you will love it anyway.
Those are rather difficult words to swallow with three impending end of term papers, a project, another project, a third project, plus preparing for a summer job. It sure feels a lot more like shoveling poop than eating cake. We all do it. We say this term is going to be different, we get excited for all the awesome stuff we’re going to do, but by 9th week we’re back, shoveling what feels like our own little pile of poop.
Or are we really eating cake? Is that 8 page paper trying to recreate a primary source from the late 12th century actually awesome? How about the 10 page paper deconstructing an architect’s vision of the future?
It’s insane... right?
But, on some level, as much as we complain about the endless papers, the all-nighters, the last minute rewrites, the collapse in a heap by the end of 11th week praying to God that we never have to go through that again, we love it. We love it because the one thing that Carleton has taught us, is that it doesn’t really matter what we do. What really matters is the energy, excitement, and exuberance (how’s that for alliteration?) we bring to the tasks we do.
Because actually, we love being up at 3 am, waist deep in a pile of homework, wondering how we’re ever going to come up with something to say about some apparently nonsensical topic. We love the thrill of getting to write about that random architect that no one has ever heard about because it’s just plain AWESOME.
Perhaps that’s actually the most important lesson we learn at Carleton; the passion we put into the projects we do is more important than almost everything else. Perhaps learning how to manage, develop and grow that passion into a force for positive change in the world is one of the awesomest experiences in the world.