Sara Rathod ‘15 began writing as a News section staff writer and went on to hold the position of News Editor for multiple semesters.
I think we seniors like to give out a lot of advice before we graduate so that we can feel savvy one last time before entering the big bad world. So at the risk of sounding wiser than I am, here’s a piece of advice for my fellow Wellesley students: remember to stay curious.
We all come to Wellesley that way, but it’s hard to stay that way in the middle of midterms and papers and all the other responsibilities that keep us up at night. But curiosity is what makes people brilliant. It’s what spawned the microwave, motivated Woodward and Bernstein to uncover the Watergate scandal, and inspired human beings to turn our hungry sights toward the moon and beyond. It’s how we first figured out how to wiggle our toes, and it’s at the root of every major advancement we’ve made as a species.
It’s been my experience that the best decisions in life were born from the same instinct that made me taste soap when I was in preschool. It was the desire to learn from a great professor that made me take “Weapons, Strategy and War” my junior year, without which I never would have pursued my senior thesis. Curiosity is what led me to travel on my own and reconnect with my brother and his family in New York. And never has the desire to get an A motivated me to write an excellent paper as much as the pure and simple desire to understand the world better.
So, my advice is to nourish your curiosity as often as possible. Read alternative blogs. Go somewhere you’ve never been before. Talk to strangers. Stay connected to what’s going on in the world around you. The Internet is a treasure trove of bizarre social experiments and new ideas, so goof off on it sometimes and see what you come across.
Act on impulse. If you have a choice between a course you feel obligated to take and one you feel tempted to take, I say go for the latter, unless it’s going to derail your life plans. Tackle your papers with the zeal of a muckraking journalist. If you need inspiration, Google the 19th- century professional butt-kicker Nellie Bly. She’ll make your brain cells cry out for more. Disagree out loud in your classes every once in a while and see what happens. It’s my firm belief that all these things will serve you much better in the long run than the robotic march toward a higher GPA or that one competitive internship, because these are the qualities that draw other people toward you. Some of us have it easier than others. If you’re working your way through college, it’s harder to find time to read for pleasure or spontaneously drop in on a lecture on campus. Whatever your situation, do what you can to hang onto that spark that caught the attention of the Wellesley admissions officers who decided they wanted you here.
I’m as eager as the next person to shed my naiveté soon after graduation, but as of right now, I have no problem entering the world as a bright-eyed youngster. Authority, wisdom, street smarts — these things develop naturally as you gain life experience. A sense of wonder is more difficult to hold onto. I just hope that when I’m an old woman, I’m as curious about the world as I was the day I stepped foot on Wellesley campus. If you end up that way too, then congratulations — you’re the type of person I’d want to share a retirement home with. Look up my teleportation coordinates in 50 years and we’ll do brunch, Wellesley mafia-style. Until then, try not to focus too much on achievement. As Einstein once said, try not to become a person of success, but rather to become a person of value. If you make it your life goal to be an inquisitive and thoughtful person right up until your hair turns white, I think you’ll find yourself happy with what you’ve done here at Wellesley.
Photo courtesy of Sara Rathod ’15