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May 15, 2013

The Big Finale

I started my first post about why I wanted to come to Clark. To summarize: It felt like home, and that it was okay to make a mistake. And thus, I think it’s a good idea to end my blogging for this year on something very similar, but very different: Feeling for the unknown.

Hold on. Just give me a second. There’s these two two terms in German, Heimweh and Fernweh. I discovered them while I was working on my “Home” research project this year, and a colleague presented on it as well in Chile.


Heimweh is about the yearning for the familiar (or the home, or even homesickness, in some terms) and Fernweh is yearning for the afar. When I was applying to colleges (both times), the struggle was for me to find a place that felt like home. I was homesick before the home was even decided upon. And yet, by the end, here I find myself yearning for the afar.

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The problem with English — we suck at translating German. (Or is it the problem with German?) Either way — yearning for the afar is a great thing! Think about what’s afar- your future, your goals, your dreams – even your college track is unknown.

But, that’s what I’ve been talking about during my blog posts this year. The unknown. Ordering food you can’t pronounce. Jumping into research you don’t think will pan out. Traveling to other countries without being able to speak the language. Taking the risk. Risking making a mistake because it’s OKAY TO MAKE MISTAKES.

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Me and my good friend Vlad crossing the border of the unknown into the Pacific ocean.

And if you notice – I found both at the same place, at the same time. I am longing for my home, here at Clark, but at the same exact time, longing for the future, away from Clark. And I think that’s a pretty typical Clarkie – we’re nonsensical. Nah, I kid. But I do mean it. I think it shows that here, it isn’t black or white. Nothing is either A or B. There are a lot of sides to every coin — Clark is a coin that is spinning. It could be A, it could be B. It all depends how you want it to end up. Clark can be familiar. It can also be unknown. It can be that new club you’ve never tried (okay but seriously join Ballroom we really want new members) or a self-designed major.

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Likewise, we aren’t a single sided group of people. Everyone comes from a different background, a different walk of life. And while it all seems so unknown — the differences — it’s what unites us all. In our unknown, we become familiar. In this randomness of four years that is college, you find probably the most familiar place you’ll ever be.

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“Yes, that would make a nice little experiment.” – Jaan


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