I’ve returned to New York after a summer in the Caribbean feeling happy, renewed, and ready to tackle my final year of graduate studies. I hope I’m able to maintain this frame as the fall and winter months come. New York is a great city but also a self-absorbed one; it’s a place where one can feel lonely and small even when surrounded by millions of others. I feel that way often in the city, though that might be because I’ve put the rest of my life on pause to get this degree. This is not the place where I do my life’s work, and as a result it’s difficult to keep my eyes on the prize.
This winter I want to keep my avocation — experiential education — close to my heart. I want to remember what it means to be a successful, happy person: what it means to be the kind of person I am when I’m working abroad. I want to remember that feeling, cherish it, nurture it, and continue to be the forward-thinking, positive person that I am at this very moment. I want to keep these words of wisdom in mind as words to live by this year:
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. That is to have succeeded.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson