This summer, I’m a day camp counselor for a group of 10-year-olds. Does this have anything to do with my major? Nope. Is this giving me hands-on experience for my future job? Definitely not. But am I learning, experiencing new things, and growing? Absolutely. And for that simple fact, I’m pretty darn grateful that I’m not just getting someone’s coffee in an office to impress a super important person that likely would never learn my name.
Being a counselor is challenging, but so worthwhile. Sometimes, kids just don’t want to listen. Sometimes, you struggle to put their needs before yours when you’re having a rough day. Sometimes, they’ll make fun of you when you can’t do more than 10 push-ups in a row (just a super random hypothetical, of course). But sometimes, they’ll be wise beyond their years. They’ll see the best in other people, or in a hard situation, or in life. Their simple life view will make you alter yours, and question why things ever got so complex in the first place. I’m lucky enough to have experienced 4 special weeks so far with 10-year-olds, and I’d like to share some of their wisdom with you:
Why would you ever settle for something? Your achievements are only limited by your goals. If you want to be a dolphin trainer who lives in the Sahara, you’ll just find a way to commute. If you want to have 20 kids, maybe you’ll just consider adoption. But it’s all possible, right? And if you want it, why not go get it?
Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Life’s too short to be so serious all the time. Find your inner-goofy, and embrace that wholeheartedly. Dance like an idiot, even if people are watching. Always participate in the cotton-eyed joe (you know you want to). Stop worrying about what other people think. Play with your food. And definitely don’t be afraid to make fun of yourself – it’s the best kind of humor.
Don’t be afraid of the unknown.
When you’re ten-years-old, bugs are scary. The dark may be scary, and thunderstorms could freak you out. But these are all things you know. They’re familiar, maybe even things that occur regularly. And you’re scared of them because you were taught that they could hurt you. But you’re not scared of the future. In fact, you want the future to come fast. You want to get a head start on your goals of being a dolphin trainer in the Sahara with 20 kids, because the unknown is exciting. You’re not scared of not knowing what people think of you, because you know what you think of yourself, and that’s all that really matters.
I cannot wait to go back to Hopkins with this new mindset, and allow it to stretch my goals and help me achieve them. I can’t wait to find joy in the small things and learn to appreciate the unknown. And despite the fact that this summer has not taught me how to exceed 10 push-ups, it definitely has taught me a lot about life.