As with many, I have found that the last two years at University have been instrumental in shaping me as a person. Moving to New York, where I really didn’t know anyone, and starting new in a big city was extremely difficult. There were a few weeks where I found myself constantly on the verge of tears, though I was unsure why. But I persevered in the hope that things would get better–and they did. Since adjusting to NYU I have made amazing friends and the city feels like home.
Going to school in Manhattan, and currently in London for a semester, is unbelievably eye-opening. I am constantly struck by how little I know. Being ignorant about something used to make me feel incompetent or insecure–and I would tend to overcompensate for that fact. But since my first year in University I’ve become so much more comfortable with not knowing in the sense that rather than shut down, not knowing inspires me to learn more.
For example, over winter break I began to teach myself basic HTML, CSS, and PHP coding because I was taken with the idea of being able to customize my blog layout. And even more recently on my trip to Paris, which you can read about here if you’d like, I realized how little I actually know in French. But rather than be discouraged, I’ve just become more determined to learn. I even bought the first Harry Potter in French as well as Le Petit Prince.
My love of learning, I will say, is nothing new. I was always that kid that liked school (at least for the most part). Rather, I think the biggest change since attending University is being aware of what I do and do not know, and most importantly, being open minded. The latter I’ve seen drastic changes in since high school–I’ll admit to being much more judgmental than I would have liked–and I’m happy with those changes. I never realized how important being open minded is to learning until I began living in New York. But it is so, so important.
I’ve realized that keeping an open outlook can not only help in learning outside skills or information–say, on coding or photography–but it also helps you in learning about yourself. We, as humans, aren’t static. We grow and change and develop our tastes as we live our lives. (I’ve had a few conversations with others about how much a person can change, but that’s a topic for another post). So much advice is rooted in the idea that we need to know ourselves, and so we try. We constantly try. I’ve found the more I keep an open mind, the more I learn and absorb whether it be from attending an art gallery, reading the newspaper, listening to a podcast, or just from generally being aware, the more I feel like I know about myself. And I know now that I always want to be learning. Besides, wouldn’t life be boring if you already knew everything?