Wednesday, April 12, 2006

It takes courage

I have been thinking about us Humanities students, the way we think and the way we were trained to think. In university and especially in post-grad your lecturers basically make sure that you feel you don't know anything. Having an opinion is not enough it has to be backed up with theory and with literature. If you cannot find any background material, you are not looking hard enough... They say we are supposed to be critical thinkers but really I think a large part of the academic world is paraphrasing people who have already made their mark in history. Like the big fathers of Sociology: Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx, or for Philosophy: Aristotle or John Locke. It's about applying the work of a few individuals to contemporary world issues.

Being a student is like playing it safe, sort of. You get to talk about revolutionary concepts, you get to bash the institutions and the decision-makers, and you get to do this while drinking wine and eating cheese (just think about all of the functions, conferences, and receptions). Going out there in the world is the tough part; putting these ideas into action.

Now don't misunderstand me, I think teaching and academia is one of the noblest and necessary professions in the world. Where would we be did not have that engaging professor who made us think outside the box? Nevertheless, someone has to actually do the work. Yes the research is important, but what do you do with that information? Implementation is key; we all learned that. People come up with these bright ideas for development but then when it's time to execute, things fall apart and they find out it isn't sustainable.

We have been reading intense ideas and writing about what other people wrote for so long that I think sometimes we are stuck. We don't have any original or revolutionary ideas ourselves; or do we? I met a lot of interesting people in the last four weeks. I am not talking about our presenters; I am talking about us, the interns. The intellect amongst us is inspiring and the passion is invigorating.

It takes a lot of courage to put our ideas out there and make them tangible and measurable. I am scared as hell of some of the ideas I have, because they seem so ambitious and even far-fetched. But I am more afraid of not trying them out. So let us take these ideas, go into the world of work and just do it.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" ~ Mahatma Gandhi


Blogger Cyrille Mutombo said...

Do it Rochelle, take your courage. Failure is not the worse thing; the worse is to not have ever tried. Be scared of not trying at all!

9:27 AM  

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