A Reflection on Wonder

“Now you must choose[:] Are you a child who has not yet become world-weary? Or are you a philosopher who will vow to never become so?”
~Jostein Gaarder

A puddle on concrete that reflects a wispy cloud in the deep blue sky, floating above roof tiles
A photo I took a couple weeks ago on campus, looking down at my feet and finding the sky.

Every single term, the fast-paced nature of the quarter system somehow manages to catch me completely by surprise. This spring quarter has been particularly stressful and heavy, and it has been quite a balancing act, trying to stay afloat and care for myself, keep up with my work, make meaningful memories, and check in with loved ones.

In times like these, when I find myself stretched a bit too thin, I take time to look around at the dreamlike, sometimes uncanny beauty of my campus, my strange life, and feel a deep sense of wonder and awe. I examine the sunlight rippling through the water in the fountain by Benson, learn the names of the dogs that are being taken out for springtime walks across campus. I study the colors of roses and the geometries of birds of paradise, which are in full-bloom. Each time (for the millionth time), I am reminded of the following:

I do not want education and life to just be a debt of time, money, and stress as a means to some uncertain end, nor do I want it to be some futile rush to secure all the answers to my future.

Instead, to me, life is about renewing and maintaining my innate sense of wonder.

In other words, I want to make it about learning how to open up to lifelong learning, purpose, and growth — how to make mistakes, seek out feedback, adjust my course accordingly, and repeat.

There’s a reason that the following lyrics from “The Kiss of Venus” by Paul McCartney and Dominic Fike has been playing repeatedly in my head this quarter:

“Look, go to college, go find your major,
Realize you’re minor in the scheme of everything.”

In other words — yes, there is a price to pay for realizing “you’re minor in the scheme of everything.” It can be terrifying to realize how tiny we are, how very little we can know or predict in the grand scheme of things.

Still, I try my best to find relief, freedom, and wonder in knowing that each of us has a part to play, both separately and together.

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