There’s a quote by the old pal Aristotle, “the more you know, the more you don’t know”, which has always made sense to me. We’d study a few books in high school, and I knew there were still thousands worth our time. We more or less learned the definition of organic chemistry sophomore year, while my friends are registering for Orgo Chem II next semester. Touching up on just tidbits of things, I’d realize that the subjects go much deeper, and that there would be so much more for me to. Excited, I couldn’t wait to learn more new things once I made it to college.
Then I came to VCU. I’d talk to people who have developed feelings on British Prime Minister David Cameron’s foreign policy, friends who knew gender inequalities across the world and those who pretty much could describe every country’s flag off the top of their head. Not to mention the high numbers of multi-lingual people running around speaking in tongues.
“Hey I’m Claire, I barely have the attention span to read more than 100 pages and I speak broken Span-talian”. Your intense knowledge is actually kinda intimidating, it didn’t seem plausible to know so much and still be a teenager. I’m still trying to understand what ebola is, why do you know the different leader’s approaches on these things?
Some friends would come up to me, discussing dead people and old stuff- you know, that history thing I’m trying to study- and speak of things-well how do you feel about Oliver Cromwell’s militant strategies? How about Canada’s treatment of Japanese Canadiens during World War II? Or Italy’s Prime Minister? Yeah, what about the IRA? Individual Retirement Account? No- Irish Republican Army- jeez you’re a history major, you should know this!
I’m not really sure where everyone is getting all of this information and informed opinions on things, maybe they’re an effect of this “information age” we live in, but I don’t go around researching the current political situation of major countries (maybe I should, but I also need to be writing a paper on Japanese internment, so I’m going to look up cake recipes). As I move on with my college career, I’m running into more people with complex thoughts on complex situations and frankly, it’s intimidating. I’ve always done well in school, but hearing these people I wonder if I’m supposed to know the same things they do.
And that’s when I take a moment, do some yoga breathing and take another sip of coffee and internalize a couple of things: we’re all different. We have different interests, and we utilize these things in different ways: some people study things as a major (thus do research in class) and others do them as a hobby (and research for fun). We all have different interests too, and can’t all be interested in the human genome project- but you know, there is a spot for all of us in the society. (On a personal note, history encompasses about twenty gajillion years on this planet and VCU’s history department only allots room for 12 history courses, so it seems about fair that I don’t know everything that has ever happened- sorry, I’m going to go study Louis XIV the Sun King don’t yell at me for not knowing French Indochina).
So the IRA- that’s pretty fascinating, but how do you feel about the end of Romanov dynasty in Russia? The international culture scene is pretty cool too, but what do you know about Richmond’s culture and history? We’ve all got strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to not let anyone else intimidate you- no matter how scary their brain is, remember that you’re a smart cookie too, just in different interests-and it’s perfectly, absolutely, okay.
(What I’m really trying to say here is that the world is huge and my brain can only hold in but so much stuff).
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do” -Edward Everett Hale