I just returned from six days of reflecting on myself and my place in the world (ALF Wilderness), during which I learned from our diverse community, their experiences, their purposes, and their hearts. I am better because they have enriched me. I have not felt this great sense of focus, self, and hope since college. Yet I worry that too many college students don’t get to truly be hopeful.
While in a valley near a natural rock sculpture under Pike’s Peak, I reflected on many things including this topic:
Are the best college students selfish? College is a time to educate yourself and grow into the next stage of your life–the time when you contribute to society (and create income). To be the best student, you must focus on yourself (and maybe your place in the world) and study to grow more. You set aside the problems at home or in your community. You leave it all behind you. You focus on you. Maybe you listen and learn from others or volunteer, but it is still about focusing on the YOU you will become.
Is this focus by nature a selfish act?
For me, college was about selfishness. I may have worked to pay for food and rent and borrowed to pay tuition, but I could focus on Moi (and I got to waste time on a French minor and classes like French Cinematography).
For too many of my edfurther students, “letting go of problems” seems impossible.
- Arue worries about her mother being alone after her uncle’s death.
- Astrid pays her brother’s tuition for UT before she pays her own.
- Ariel is a father has knows his work hours are undependable (sometimes too many, sometimes too few). College matters but so does his daughter.
Their hearts are huge. They are not selfish. They are young and have big dreams. College is their path, they need our support.
I hope you will join me in giving our college students permission to be selfish, just for these few years, so that they can be selfless in the future as they make the world a better place.