May 28, 2015 admin

PURPOSE: Find it Over and Over

by Kip McClement

Age 19. New York City, NY

Before heading to college, I decided to defer for a year, then two. I often hear my peers discuss how directionless they feel; in school, they’ve learned little beyond how to cram for exams and drink copious amounts of cheap alcohol. Surely, their expensive private educations have taught them more than that. We are all firm in our beliefs that equality, equity, and justice must be achieved. We are all firm in our beliefs that we are the ones who must achieve such things. Still, the passion to impact change is there, they say, but the knowledge of how to go about it evades us.

Still, the passion to impact change is there, they say, but the knowledge of how to go about it evades us.

Branded as the directionless one when we walked out of our high school graduation, I worried that everyone was right: was I some slacking dolt who lacked the motivation for a formal education and thus was setting myself up for a life of failure? Sometimes the fear arises, even now. I’ll be 23 or 24 when I receive my undergraduate degree. Have I squandered vital years of my youth by taking time away from college?

Spending the last two years backpacking, interning, volunteering, WWOOFing, working on farms and at wineries, I’ve stumbled clearly upon a purpose. At one time, in high school, I strongly declared that I wanted to be a farmer, much to the chagrin of my fellow college-preparatory boarding school classmates. My revelation was quickly clouded, delegitimized by insistent emphasis on the importance of the SATs and final exams grades. Exhausted and defeated, I came to think that my purpose needed to be more competitive, more “highbrow” than sustainable farming.

During my gap years, I frequently shuttled from one pursuit to another, working as an intern at nonprofits; as an apprentice on farms and at wineries; backpacking, alone and free; transitioning from one gender to another. Each vignette has provided my with the tools, knowledge, and passion to once again follow my purpose, which at one time felt so crystal clear: I am to be a farmer, on a sustainable urban farm, which aids homeless youth or poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

I was able to rediscover it and, hopefully, if it becomes buried once again, I know have the tools to find it, over and over.

My fear is that entering a private university in the Fall will once again obscure this dream and purpose. I do not want it beaten out of me. Still, I’m comforted in knowing that, after having it beaten out of me once, I was able to rediscover it, and that, hopefully, if it becomes buried once again, I now have the tools to find it, over and over, until I achieve it.

 

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