After grasping the realness of the conclusion of this growth-filled two quarter course, that is the word that comes to mind when I think back on what I have, we have, accomplished.
Ten months ago, I was a scared 19-year-old boy, who basked in the fullness of my high school accomplishments. I vocalized my readiness to take on the world, but inside, I didn’t want to move. I was terrified of the change.
In fact, I was terrified of any change. I desired nothing more than to stay inside my safe, Brendan-sized bubble for as long as I could.
However, the transition to college, after a month-long battle with my inner yearnings, ended up victorious. I threw up the white flag and realized the necessity for myself not to change ineluctably, but to adapt.
With this new-found, open mentality, I was now ready to not only vocalize my readiness, but actually see, maybe, if I could be open to new ambitions, and work them to fruition, possibly.
After some time experiencing and contemplating some ideas with what I could experiment with, an idea arose.
We had just begun the book “Eating Animals,” by Jonathan Safran Foer.
I can’t tell you why I had always been interested in becoming vegetarian. And I don’t mean I won’t tell you; I mean, I don’t know what it was about the lifestyle that intrigued me. But it did.
I decided to give it a go, “at least for a little while”, and honestly, it wasn’t easy. I didn’t expect it to be, though, as I had been a meat eater my whole life. But those first two weeks were cruel. I constantly was tempted, and the fact that the sunny-side up burger was the special for those what-felt-like everlasting 14 days, made it especially cruel.
But, I kept reminding myself of the commitment I had made to this, and with that, along with the constant motivating classes of discussing the harsh realities of the factory farming industry, I kept my head high. (and my nose out of the Bronco)
It soon became easier and easier, and yes, although this probably had to do with some methodical biological-bodily function (I’m a business student), I believe it was these classes from this course that kept me disciplined to this idea ,,,scratch-that,,, to this visualized necessity.
Yes, I am downplaying the actual educational foundations we learned for which vegetarianism is built upon, but eh, we’ve already heard that right?
My point is this.
We have discussed various different topics in this course, ranging from the maltreatment of corporations, such as Enron, to the seducing powers of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. However, no matter the topic, I believe the foundational truth behind each can be summed up in one quote from none other than Mr. Safran Foer himself.
“Whether we change our lives or do nothing, we have responded. To do nothing is to do something. Not responding is a response – we are equally as responsible for what we don’t do.” (Foer, Jonathan Safran)
This quote has manifested in me and has helped me understand the motives behind each person, idea, organization, theory, fact, truth, and/or societal norm. Just as every iceberg is much more than appears, concepts, such as vegetarianism, have much more to them than just refraining from meat.
This discovery has evoked a sensation within me to dig past the surface level of issues and try to understand why they exist and what steps we, as a community, teammates, classmates, etc. can take in order to rid of them, not to be vague.
I came to this conclusion during my second essay of spring quarter. I decided to write on a subject in which I have an interest in, particularly due to my participation in the issue, as an athlete here at Santa Clara.
I wrote about the complexity of the injustices with the Nike sweatshop controversy and Santa Clara’s direct contribution through the up and coming aspiring winning-culture of the swoosh-endorsed athletics program, with a slight twist on the hypocrisies this creates due to the University’s Jesuit background.
In parallel, this ability has, in turn, also directly influenced my writing.
I started the quarter, not so ironically as well, a scared writer. When I researched a topic, I refrained from digging too deep into the opposition. I was scared what I would find; I didn’t want to know what the other side argued, I was okay with my ignorant argument and stuck to it.
Now, however, as I’ve attempted to up my own writing skills, I’ve noticed that my opposition takes up more of a bulk of the paper than even my own research. (for better or for worse)
So, here I am, an adapted, an influenced, and surprisingly enough, still-veggie Brendan, ten months later.
Ten months. That’s all it took.
And I can’t wait to see where I am ten months from now.
Foer, Jonathan Safran. Eating Animals. Access and Diversity, Crane Library, University of British Columbia, 2013.
“Change – Why Can It Be Hard?” Executive Coaching | Life Coaching | Career Coaching | Mindfulness Teacher | Mindful Self-Compassion Student. N.p., n.d. Web.