Tonight, I sat on the floor of a small freshman dorm room, watching the highly acclaimed Boyhood with some friends. And all throughout the movie, all I heard was criticisms:
“He is so ugly!”
“His hair looks awful like that,”
“I don’t get why she won an Oscar, the acting is terrible.”
“I hate hippies, talking about the universe speaking to them and enjoying the moment – just get a job!”
Why can’t we just let people be? Do you think people choose to be ugly? As my dad always said, people are just playing the hand they were dealt. People are all just trying to figure out life and who they are meant to be, and it doesn’t make it any easier when people are constantly pointing out their flaws.
Maybe people do that to distract themselves from their own flaws.
I think it is critically important that we take time to think about the universe, about our souls, and about enjoying the moment. You can call me a hippie, hipster, or whatever you want, but labels are simply that. Labels. Two-dimensional, not the three-dimensional person who has a story, and hopes and dreams.
One of my favorite quotes comes from a movie called Liberal Arts:
“You think it’s cool to hate things. And it’s not. It’s boring. Talk about what you love, and keep quiet about what you don’t.”
To all my How I Met Your Mother fans out there: Liberal Arts is an independent movie written by, directed by, and starring Josh Radnor, your favorite architect. Also, it’s on Netflix. Elizabeth Olsen (pictured above) costars, plays freshman Zibby at a private university in Ohio. Josh Radnor plays alum Jesse Fisher, who returns to the college to attend a retirement party for his favorite professor. Upon arriving, Radnor meets Olsen, and thus sparks intriguing conversations and hilarious quotes:
Zibby: “So, what was your major?”
Jesse Fisher: “I was English, with a minor in history, just to make sure I was fully unemployable.”
There are also some very thought-provoking quotes, very applicable to college students:
Jesse Fisher: “I think one of the things I loved the most about being here was the feeling that anything was possible. It’s just infinite choices ahead of you. You’d get out of school, and anything could happen. And then you do get out, and… life happens, you know? Decisions get made. And then all those many choices you had in front of you are no longer really there. At a certain point, you just got to go, ‘Oh, I guess this is how it’s going down.’ And there’s just something a little depressing about that.”
Some question the value of a liberal arts education at a four-year university or college. The rising tuition costs are pretty intimidating, but I think there is so much more to a university than simply the school. While yes, learning and earning a degree are ultimately the goal, there is a sense of community (cliché, I know) that is very unique to the college experience.
We are here to learn, but not just academically; we are learning so much socially, as well. Learning how to relate to people who have completely different upbringings and beliefs, and learning how to have intelligent conversations without anger.
I was always pretty reluctant to voice my opinions on things in high school. I feel like that’s a pretty common thing stemming from the insecurity of high school culture. But since coming to college, I feel like I have really found my voice. I’m learning to observe and understand; to listen to people and to not only step into their shoes, but into their souls. (or soles. get it?) And I’m not afraid of what people may say or think, even though there is still judgement in college, just like high school.
A liberal arts education provides a place to explore new ideas and concepts about the world and about yourself. For me, it is a place to dive deeper into my relationship with God. It’s about finding the true friends that talk about what they love and keep quiet about what they don’t, because hating isn’t cool. Judging isn’t cool. So let’s stop choosing to make fun of others because we don’t feel good about ourselves, and start trying to see the good in people, which only happens when you step outside your comfort zone and talk to someone. Really talk to them, about their dreams in life, about their struggles. Only then can we create the kind of society where open dialogue and learning from each other and our stories is prevalent.
Also, watch Liberal Arts if you haven’t seen it. Or even if you have seen it, watch it again, because it’s a great movie. Also, Zac Efron is in it.