Posted by Wafa K. | Posted on June 8, 2012
In the ordinary jumble of my literary drawer, I sometimes find texts I wrote ten, fifteen, or even more years ago. And many of them seem to me written by a stranger: I simply do not recognize myself in them. There was a person who wrote them, and it was I. I experienced them, but it was in another life, from which I just woke up, as if from someone else’s dream.
-Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet
There is nothing much I have not said. Very few subjects I have not touched upon. And yet, I feel like I have a world of advice and mishaps to impart to an unseen reader. It is with a heavy heart, and even heavier fingers, that I type out my very last blog entry as a part of Hopkins Interactive. The words that pepper this entry are untranslatable into English from their original languages; but they function to describe fleeting moments of emotions that have been expressed by either myself or fellow members of my graduating class.
Hygge – Danish, a complete absence of anything annoying, irritating or emotionally overwhelming, and the presence of and pleasure from comforting, gentle and soothing things
I have written posts with no words and entries with too many. I have complained, been thankful, appalled and humbled. There were times when I had nothing to say and, often, when I had more to say than I could put into words. This blog has been four years of attempting to verbalize my experience and my growth. It is at this time, the curtain call of my college education, where words to describe this moment seem to be more difficult to come by than ever before.
Wabi-Sabi – Japanese, a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay
Torschlusspanik – German, the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages
Any attempt to concisely articulate what it is like to spend fours years at Hopkins would fall short. There is growth of self, expansion of interests, passions, social circles, and maturation on so many levels. The person that my parents dropped off at Wolman Hall, who wrote those Class of 2012 Freshmen blog entries so long ago, the person who started this journey is no longer who I am. I hardly remember what it was like to be that person, rather this university and the experience of college has allowed me to be molded into who I am today and who I will choose to become.
Saudade – Portuguese, the mournful beauty of longing for something or someone that you love, and which is lost
I have always attempted to emphasis the importance of personal decision and experience in choosing a college. There is no such thing as a perfect university, no pre-packaged experience that will allow you to grow from timid freshman to conquering graduate. There is only you. Only you can decide what you make of it. It is a fascinating and daunting task, to take charge of such a formidable experience. There are many aspects to it that will be implicit, that occur through the passing of time and web and flow of friendships. Others, however, will be explicit in the direct lessons you will learn. Many, if not all lessons are difficult to learn and they force us to expand our realm of comfort. They require an extension of a sense of self, which is often stubborn. But that is what college allows to happen. The possibility of the imaginative expansion of the self. It took me four years to figure out what that truly meant, and I believe it will be a lifelong process of accepting the opportunities that come to you and growing from that.
Duende – Spanish, the mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person
Tuka pamoja – Swahili, denotes a shared sense of purpose and motivation in a group, implies empathetic understanding
And so, all my cards have been placed on the table. I hope somewhere in the over one hundred and twenty posts I have written, I have imparted some small kernel of wisdom that can be of use. I honestly hope that everybody’s college experience can be as fulfilling, as engaging, and as difficult, productive and truly wonderful as mine was. I hope that among the friends you make on the day you move in are the friends you take pictures with on Graduation day. I hope your professors excite passions in subjects you never expected to love, and I hope they give you headaches with their expectations of perfection. I hope you build snowmen, go to happy hours, impact and improve your community, spend too much time in the library, skip studying to get cupcakes, and most of all, I hope you embrace every moment of happiness.
Depaysement – French, the destabilizing feeling that comes from not being in one’s own country or context
Lagorn – Swedish, somewhere between “just the right amount” and “enough,” expresses a sense of balance and satisfaction with having your needs met without excess
It has been an absolute pleasure and honor to be able to be a part of Hopkins Interactive for four years and to share my journey through this blog. The only appropriate way I could think of sending this off would be with the words of Garrison Keillor, long-time host of The Writer’s Almanac:
Do good work.
Keep in touch.