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Musings on the Self: Rising Up To The Challenge

“Self-actualization is what educated existence is all about.”-David Brooks

As we’re headed into the last stretch of the school year and the beautiful spring weather is upon us, life seems to have taken on a hazy glow. And when things are going well, human beings tend to hold on tightly to the peace, afraid of moving in any direction for fear of stirring the air and bringing on chaos. However, this calm should not be a cue to let yourself remain stagnant against the shifting grains of time, no matter how easy things seem to be at the moment, because complacency does not equal progress. It’s important to try to challenge yourself, because it is only by stepping over your line of comfort that you can truly see your surroundings a little clearer and understand your self and the extent of your capabilities a little better. It is exactly at this midpoint juncture of the semester that the opportunity to step out of your self-made box becomes easier, and although it may be daunting to do this, it is also well worth it. Here are some challenges that I present to you for the rest of the year that may help in expanding your horizon of interest and lengthening your social and individual reach:

For the rest of the semester:
Though the semester is halfway finished, there is still the other half of the semester to not only improve unsatisfactory academic performance but also to develop lasting relationships with both your classmates and your professors. So really make an effort and try; don’t just sit in class absorbing the lecture and readings without attempting or caring to think and understand what you’re learning. Interact with your classmates, because chances are that you’ll see them again in the rest of your time at the college. Go to your professor’s office hours and show that you’re making an effort; talking to your professors outside of class gives you a better grasp on the material and also builds a relationship that you can draw upon when you need references. Remember that first impressions aren’t always the most lasting, and there is always a chance for you to change how you are remembered.

For the summer:
It is never too early to start planning for your future, so look out for those internships or jobs that intrigue you or are geared towards your major and future life careers. Doing this is the best way to know for certain whether what you’re doing in college is what you want to do for the rest of your life. If staying in one place for a summer job or internship doesn’t interest you, then you should look at the classes and volunteer opportunities being offered here at TCNJ, like the Maymester course trips to places like England and China, the Bonner trip to Nicaragua, or even taking on a MUSE project. These are all interesting ways to learn new things and meet people you never would have otherwise known.

For next year and beyond:
Not many people are given the resources and opportunities that we have, so it is crucial to take advantage of all the things TCNJ is offering you while you still can. Especially as advising and course selection is coming up, think about what exactly you want to accomplish in your limited time here at college. Add a new major or minor. Apply for programs like Honors, or WILL, or Honors societies. Don’t just live life passively. Challenge life, because it is only through the fear of the unfamiliar that you can ever actually reach the sky.

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