While justice movements persist on Cal’s campus and our own— and on campuses countrywide—student protests register quietly, quickly, or not at all in the news. Activism, as an average, is now quiet smolder dulled by the apathy of mass opinion. There are passionate folks, loud and brilliant people standing up for what is right at Stanford and elsewhere, but their energy does not mirror the sentiments of their peers—student populations are no longer excited. There are few powerful causes that hold our attention, and a protest is unlikely to bring us out in force (unless there is a promise of free food, or a celebrity speaker).
We are fortunate to be at Stanford, where we have the opportunity to explore various areas of interest. Maybe we’ll discover our true passion while we are here, maybe we won’t. But it is critical that we remember that passion is not a sine qua non—it’s okay if our passion doesn’t result in a career. It’s okay if we don’t know what we want to study. It’s even okay if we never find a passion. Stanford should be four years of excited exploration and experimentation, not four years of stress about not having a “thing.” Your identity is not your passion—you are so much more than that.
I actually agree. But most people I conversed with shared the same conclusions about themselves after introspection. There is an inherent time component to developing a passion; someone who starts to enjoy an activity immensely for a week cannot say they he or she has found the endeavor that they want to pursue to no bounds. True passion is put to the litmus test of time, which introduces a myriad of challenges and hurdles.
You’re too busy to go to the Pac-12 Championship Game? If a Stanford professor has the time to go to every home game and cheer from the sidelines, then it’s certainly not too much for you to clear three hours from your schedule on one Friday night.
I spent three months in Spain, and let me tell you, I learned a lot. I mastered enough Spanish to justify the “working fluency” currently listed under the “Skills” section on my resume. I learned enough about olive oil and Spanish cuisine to make tortilla de patata. And I learned probably more than I ever…