Taking Charge

IF YOU COULD TAKE CHARGE OF ONE THING IN YOUR LIFE WHAT WOULD IT BE?

What a great question. With graduation just a month away, the most obvious answer would be my future. This is the most exciting time in my life. I have everything ahead of me and the trick is to seize opportunities when they arise.

I was at a concert last evening and a student asked me about my plan for after graduation. When I told her I didn’t really have one she seemed relieved that “Jonathan Pappalardo” doesn’t have a plan in place yet for when he graduates. This separation between “Jonathan Pappalardo” and myself has happened more than I like to think about.

Students always tend to think of me as one way, this hard-working student who always does well on everything. I do get good grades but I don’t deserve this high pedestal. Sure, I got a 95 on Melissa Meade’s Mass Media mid-term last year but that was kind of a fluke. I’d really enjoy meeting this “Jonathan Pappalardo” that everyone believes I am. I’m no different from anyone else.

Anyway, the one thing I would take charge of is my future. I’ve seen a shift in my thinking over the last year moving away from mediocrity into the substantive. I love being exposed to new ideas, learning about people, and becoming smarter with regards to the world around me. Two months ago, I took to reading the New York Times on Sundays. I enjoy the Sunday Magazine the most and feel like my day isn’t complete until I’ve digested the content within it.

What Are You Hungry For?

Another wonderful question is, “What are you hungry for?” I am hungry for so many things. But mostly I am hungry for more. More realness in people and in the world and a deeper level of thinking about what is going on around me. I know for sure that as a nation we’ve overdosed ourselves on the celebrity culture and reality television and in turn dumbed ourselves to a low never before achieved.

I am very hungry to feed my brain with knowledge obtained from mature individuals who talk intelligently. I’ve had many aha moments while taking MB’s Writing About The Arts class this semester. He has forced me to challenge myself and grow as a thinker about arts and culture. Although I originally said this last summer, I have taken a vow never to waste my time anymore on crap movies. Life is too short to be pained by art.

I’m glad to be ending my college career in a month for one reason. I’ve had enough of learning through memorization. I am so sick of reading boring text books and cramming information into my brain so I can do well on an exam. I’ve done enough of that to know how unproductive it is. I want to learn for the sake of learning. I want to learn through exposure not through a text book. I want to hear different points of view and come in contact with people who live a different life than I.

I want to take classes and create life memories that change my view of the world.  I will forever being indebted to MB for opening the floodgates and providing examples of how it is possible to talk about culture in an intelligent way. I sort of had an idea that media criticism existed but he brought it to the forefront of my thinking. In four years of college, no other professor has successfully been able to accomplish that task.

COULD YOU USE A NEW POINT OF VIEW?

I’ve already answered this to a degree but a life goal of everyone on earth should be to seek out new points of view on a weekly basis. No one should live in a bubble. Imagine the kind of world we would have if everyone believed in their hearts that life didn’t exist beyond their bubble.

Reba McEnite posed the question, “Is There Life Out There/So Much I haven’t done/is their life beyond my family and my home?” Of course, there is life out there. Hell, there’s a whole world out there just waiting for you to take the leap and discover it.

I strongly believe that God creates moments in our lives that push us onto a new path whither we’re ready or not. A path that is as much exhilarating as scary. It’s in those moments that we get a second to reflect, not only on where we’ve come but where we’re going. Graduation is one of those such moments. It’s a force out of the comfortable and into the unknown.

I personally am looking forward to the end of eating in the dining hall. It has nothing to do with the quality of the food; that has gone up considerably with the new aim towards sustainability. But I find that eating in the dining hall is a road block from reality. The world isn’t about swiping a plastic card and having a dedicated staff cook for you three meals a day. While great, it’s dream land. Only when forced to find, cook, and clean up your own food do you get a true sense of what life is really about. Life is about making choices for yourself and living/dying by those said choices. NOT having someone cooking for you. I am thrilled Jaycee McCarthy has to cook all his own meals while abroad in Poland. He’s getting a true taste of the real world.

In short, yes I can always use new points of view. What is so wonderful about this melting pot of a country is that new views pop up all the time and teach us so many wonderful little tidbits about life. Even in Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book Committed (which my mom is reading), she is using marriage as a metaphor for the way to live ones life.

What I want is a renewed passion in learning. A curiosity about the world. Not just for myself but for everyone around me. Take a needle and pop the bubble you’re encased in and see what else is out there. The world is bigger than 16 and Pregnant and Jersey Shore.  

I cannot wait to travel and see more of the world. That’s where my future is going to take me. As much as I love New Hampshire and Massachusetts, it’s time to see other places and gain new experiences. I’ve had enough of snow to last me a good long while. I can go without brushing off my car every damn morning just to drive to the gym.

I’m ready for more. Bigger. New experiences. Hell I’m 22, I have my whole life ahead of me.

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