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August 30, 2013

On Passion

Baby Jessa!

I like to think that I’ve always been a passionate person. I was always quick to love and create bonds of friendship as a child, and for many years I found beauty in things that others didn’t seem to notice. As you age, it seems as though passion tends to dwindle, crushed by a society focused on the mundane. Let’s be honest, once you get to a certain point, life’s focus turns from nurturing talents and a love for learning to test-taking and being the best possible candidate for whatever is next as is physically possible.

The transition from childhood to adulthood can be a soul crushing experience, to say the least.

The thing about University, from what I have found, is that it has restored my fervour for life as a whole. While I am similarly enthusiastic about my interpersonal relationships with those around me – friends, family, co-workers – I have found that University gave me a chance to re-discover my love for life.

Part of this has been that over the past two years, living so far from my home and friends in Boulder, I was forced to rediscover who I am as a person. I’m going to be completely candid here, University pushed me in ways I never thought I would be pushed and had me think in ways I never imagined I could think. I went through plenty of hardships, issues sorting out friendships and where I belonged as a whole — but everyone does. Still, being tossed into the micro-world that is Clark gave me a chance to redefine myself into who I am.

What I discovered seems extremely simple in retrospect:

  • I am a workaholic
  • I am a perfectionist
  • I am high-stress
  • I am loud
  • I am passionate about business
  • I am passionate about people
  • I am passionate about beauty
  • I am passionate about learning

I knew the first four pretty much by the time I was 16. They’ve never changed, no matter how much I’ve wished from time to time that I weren’t so focused on working or perfection, or that I didn’t function better in high-stress situations… or that I could quiet down. Really, ask anyone, I don’t know how loud I am. But what I discovered in University is that all of these things contributed to the better version of myself that I became, simply because I stopped looking.

I stopped trying to become someone else and became happy with who I am.

I used to think that I shouldn’t be passionate about business, because for whatever reason others believed I was only interested in business because it could make me money in the future – and I thought they were right. Now, I enjoy getting up in the mornings before my business classes and devour the textbooks assigned; for example, in MGMT 100 we were told to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. I still subscribe to and read the CFO Journal, Market, and Business sections regularly – not because they are related to my major, or my future, but because doing so actually does my heart good.

I used to think that I shouldn’t love people as much as I did, that it was a character flaw to be so emotionally involved in a race that was so imperfect. Now, I find beauty in the imperfections and differences people share – most specifically through my photography. That’s why I spend my spare time taking photos – and why I love my camera so much.

Honestly, the biggest change in me came when I finally delved into my love for photography and portraiture. I can be having the absolute worst day and take my Nikon out for a spin and suddenly everything seems right in the world again. A photo of a lopsided smile, a freckle, the sparkle in a friend’s eye… those are the the day-to-day moments I live for. (Click here to see my Flickr for some of the portraits I’ve done)

And so what I conclude from this is that the best part of University is self-discovery and self-acceptance. After all, University is the time to experiment and find something you absolutely love. And for you, I hope that what you find in your next few years are similar to what I found, because no matter what hardships came from my life in the past two years – I would never trade them for the person I am today.


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