Find Your Edges

At a shockingly early age we get pushed towards identity-defining metrics like good grades. High marks become the target for a successful life to children whose life experience measures in the single digits.

Unfortunately, this simplification of our identity leaves many bewildered graduates on the other end of the education system. Diploma clutched in one hand, head scratched by the other.

Hunting for good grades can muddy the vital process of self-discovery, which is arguably the best use of higher education.

College has added value if you can remain adaptive to your own interests. I changed my major three times before landing on what I loved, which required me to admit I was wrong, and then wrong again.

College provided me the time to take classes focused on the edges of my interest. Allowing me to discover at least as much about myself as the facts we were compelled to regurgitate on tests for grades that we’ve lived our entire lives to earn.

Running headlong toward my edges allowed me to find what I loved and what I didn’t, what I’m good at and what I’m not. It helped me understand how I might best fit in the world.

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Meat Bag Confronts Screen, More at 11

“Don’t sit so close! You’ll ruin your eyes!”

My worrisome mother often shouted from across the room, frustrated by her child’s growing infatuation with the images pouring out of our living-room tube TV.

Television was reviled on one side of our family. My grandparents only let me watch baseball and McGee & Me, a Christian home video series. Viewed as the source of all our misgivings, TV subverts a good Christian life. A sinful teacher. A device with unchecked access to my newly forming neural connections.

But I will forever defend the television, for its many faults, it still welcomes groups to sit together and focus attention. If not on each other, then at least on an agreed point. A movie, show, or nothing in particular. We focused together.

That’s not as viable with our pocket screens.

Our smartphones are highly personal and personalized; downright magical, you might say. But looking over someone’s shoulder as they scroll through their feed is met with a bristling self-consciousness.

I think this is a problem.

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