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Passion play

By Kate Holden

It’s a humid Saturday afternoon in downtown St. John’s. I’m manning the merchandise table at the 24 Hour Art Marathon Festival (24HAM) and watching an old friend, who is dressed as a giant ham, belly dance on Harbour Drive. You might think that this is a strange location to experience a moment of clarity, but you would be mistaken.

I’ve always been a little jealous of people who are uncontrollably passionate about anything in particular. It’s very easy to become numb to the world around you.

It seems the right combination of uncertainty and pressure at a certain age can trigger a potentially semi-permanent catatonic state.

Most of us do not know what we want to do with our lives at the age of 17, and I would venture to guess that almost as many of us will never really figure that out. That would be fine, except that coinciding with the uncertainty comes the irrepressible urge on the part of your “elders” to ask you some variation of the question: so what are you doing with your life? So at some point around first or second year many of us stop asking questions, pick a degree that we may or not actually be interested in, put our heads down and charge through to graduation without looking up.

It’s so easy to fall into that pattern, but being passionate is one of the truly important aspects of student life and not one to be missed out on. It’s not really about choosing your career path, getting good grades, or winning scholarships (although these things are important too). It’s about getting angry, being a nuisance, and pushing boundaries! If not now, then when?
If you fall into a routine of blindly wandering through each day, can you ever get out of it?

We all have a tendency to do only what’s required of us. For the past couple of years, the only thing I’ve really committed to is schoolwork. This seems to be a common problem among students first starting out.

But over the past few months I’ve found myself taking on all kinds of projects, and it’s been great! Don’t get me wrong, down time is valuable too; I firmly believe that everybody needs a few minutes of vegetation in his or her life, but I’ve also noticed that the less down time you have the less you need it.

Being a student is about finding that thing that makes you tick, that thing for which you would gladly dance in the street dressed as a processed meat product. When I say the thing about which you are passionate, I don’t mean something you would claim to be passionate about on your resume.

So, as another fall semester is somehow already on top of us, why not try something new? Take a dance class, become a mime, fly kites … trying something completely different from your norm – I bet you’ll find that you’ve got more zest than you thought.