Monday, April 23, 2007

Nothing changes?

I have been thinking about this for short while.

I do not know if I am suprised, not suprised, sadly not suprised, or happily not surprised that, despite living in the world for an extended period of time, making lot of different friends, and even moving away from my original home, in many ways I am the same person with the exact same interests I've always had.

Is that surprising? I don't think it would surprise my parents, just that's an inkling.

This realization was prompted most recently by my resurgent interest in creative writing (the same thing that prompted the creation of this blog). As I said in that first post, I've always been a writer; writing has always been a prominent method of self-expression for me, and I knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I gave up on that for whatever reason, moved on to other interest: I later knew that I wanted to be an actress, a director, a singer-songwriter, movie soundtrack producer, etc. Still, creative expression was always at the forefront of my concepts of my future.

I sort of did a turn-about the summer before going to college: I was telling folks that I intended to major in Chinese and minor in math (thanks to a sense of China's growing place in the world and an especially excellent calculus class). However, I was mostly just trying to come up with a succinct answer to the question, "What are you going to major in at college?" and after realizing then that I didn't really want to go into international policy or business and that few math classes are as wonderful as Mr. Jonak's, I turned my eye to those classes in UChicago's course catalogue that really caught my eye.

What kinds of classes were those? Largely philosophy classes, but I realized after a brief time here that I didn't want to be just a philosophy major. Why? Because i didn't just want to study other people's ideas, I wanted to create my own, express my own ideas about the world.

Creative expression? There you go.

Even very recently, I assumed however that I was going to take this interest in a new direction. I am planning to enter the vague field of "arts-related non-profits" after graduation. A focus on service is new for me, right? I don't have an extensive history of volunteer work and service.

Except that I had some concept of publicly-minded work even when I was young. I wrote letters decrying animal testing to Procter & Gamble during elementary school. I took a strong interest in entrepreneurship (as it related to the crafts I enjoyed making) but the money was always going to be for one organization or another, most notably the World Wildlife Fund (I ended up donating it freshman year of high school for school supplies for Afghani women). During high school, I ran the environmental awareness group.

I did theatre, too, and the only way the two activities related was when sorting recyclable made me late to build crew every other Wednesday. But I guess the drive was kind of always there?

Even now I'm beginning to think of myself in capacities that I think my parents have perhaps associated me with for awhile: when I wanted to act in musical theatre, my father told me I would make a better director than actress; now, while I want to devote my life to service, I imagine making my contribution through an administrative capacity (my mother once told me that I should be a school administrator, and I must admit that from experience I would much prefer that to being a teacher).

But--to the point (which has been the point all along, of course):

Am I really that predictable? And is this an unfortune? One other constant of my life is that I really have always liked myself and been comfortable with my propensities and satisfied with myself (naturally in the ever-developing sense of satisfaction). So perhaps consistency in interest has been tied to my sense of myself; this doesn't seem a far-fetched notion.

Well then.

The question of the day is, should I consider applying for a Truman Scholarship?
My answer for myself currently is: consider, yes. Apply? Probably not. It's complicated...but mostly it would be for the same reasons that I want to postpone my graduate education--I want some time after undergrad to discover and articulate exactly what it is I intend to pursue; I don't know if I will be able to do that effectively without that time.


1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

I am always jealous of people who are internally consistent. I am a bucket of contradictions. I think that one time I was talking to Mango and we decided that the best we could come up with for one (even general) word that would describe my interests was something like danger. Or excitement? The point is that it was really vague and fairly close to "fun". I have always wished that I had some idea where I wanted to go in life, but I have always wanted to go something like twelve different directions, so I have never really known. I just sort of do what comes into my head.

I think that the consistency you describe could go a long way towards making you comfortable with yourself. I know that personally, my discomfort with myself relates directly to the fact that I don't know if I'm really doing what I want to do or what will make me happy. If I knew that what I was doing right now would make me happy, or even that it was what I wanted to do or what suited me, I would be a lot more confident that I was making the right decisions in life.

Point being, maybe you are "predictable" but I would phrase it rather as "consistent" and be proud of it, because it certainly isn't a bad thing.