college student passion not dead, thank god

I spent my treadmill time the morning reading some NYT student articles in the Education supplement. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was evidence of passion and literacy in them.

Tamara Livshiz at at U of M describes her revelation around understanding her calling to be a doctor:

The Dog Eat Dog World of Applying to Med School

Melody Rod-Ari at U of Calif grad school looks past the dismal prospects for teaching in the humanities to understanding the importance of her field of Art History

My Irrelevant Field, the Humanities

Coranae Howard now at Columbia learns to understand her specific moment of maturing and looking her own depression in the face.

In Pursuit of Happiness

Gabino Iglesia at U of Texas has some excellent thoughts about answering his own questions about “Why he was in college”

An Awful ‘Why’ Hung Over My Head

Can’t resist an excerpt from this last one

At night, I read novels and wrote on a small desk under a picture of Bukowski taped to the wall. Then, on the afternoon of a day that had started as any other, I entered my minuscule apartment and the huge Why? was gone. Instead of that awful presence, a few answers were written on the walls with ink that only I could see. The list went more or less like this:

• Traveling increases your references, your truths, your capacity for understanding and your ability to comprehend others.

• Living alone makes you grow in ways you had never imagined and helps you get to know yourself.

• Making friends and meeting people from all over the world enriches your life, augments your emotional intelligence and makes you see how important it is to turn mere tolerance into a deep, welcoming understanding and acceptance.

• Having an education is something not even your loans can put a price on.

• Saying no to this opportunity would have been something you would have regretted the rest of your life.

I needed to read these essays this morning. This summer I have witnessed some very immature behavior from professors and college students. Dare I lump these particular people together and say they show a tendency to be incurious, withdrawn, and seem mostly concerned not about their fields but about how others perceive them.

Nevertheless this experience this summer has moved me closer to my own passion. Yesterday after finishing the postlude, I found myself in a weirdly vulnerable emotional state. Each time I perform I endeavor to give all of my heart and soul to the music I am performing. Sometimes this leaves me drained and completely overwhelmed. Yesterday was that kind of day. As the last notes of Wayne Shorter’s “Black Nile” faded I was overwhelmed. Pretty embarrassing to be surrounded by applauding parishioners only to be weeping and looking upset. Oh well. Fortunately there was a guest artist who was getting most of the attention and I could take my wrung-out self a bit out of the spotlight.

Unfortunately, I have made a bit of a resolution to be more present at the dang church coffee hour. I am a bad recruiter. But the presence of the primary musician is a tool not to be ignored. So I have decided to start counting time after the last note of the postlude and make sure I stay at least ten or fifteen minutes more instead of grabbing my stuff and fleeing as I usually do.

So I did this yesterday. I came home exhausted but had fun making lunch for my wife and myself. Cooked up some pasta and made a meat pasta dish for Eileen and a veggie one for myself. A side salad with fresh tomatoes, basil, parmesan, and olive oil. Desert was the last of the fruit platz I made recently with whipped cream and fresh blueberries on top. Life is rough.

I was supposed to meet my bass player at 1 PM to go over music for a gig tomorrow night. My bass player is a high school student who just spent the last two weeks in an intense music program at a local Michigan college. Unfortunately he slept through our appointment. He finally answered my cell phone call around 4 PM and asked if we could skip it for the day.

Another exhausting emotional Sunday for Steve. But not all bad. Good music, good food and good companionship from the woman I love. Heh.

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