I don’t believe in fate. Most days of the week, I don’t believe in God either. There was a time in my life where I did believe in fate, although it was awhile ago. At some point in my life, I either became uncomfortable with the idea that my life is already set out for me, or I had seen things that made me believe the idea of “everything happening for a reason,” or “it’s all going somewhere” were ludicrous and based more on wishful-thinking and the hope that things will always turn out good no matter what than they were based on reality.
While this is probably starting to sound like a spiritual blog by this point, I assure you there is a method to my madness. The thing is, since this semester began, I decided that if things were going to happen, they were going to happen as the result of action, not fate. While fate might indeed be real, I don’t believe that letting fate do all the work is a lifestyle that agrees with me. When this semester began, I rejected the idea that fate was going to do everything for me and decided I was going to do things myself. This was tough for me, as I knew it meant going very far outside my comfort zone, involving myself in things that might not necessarily be “me,” and facing the reality that the world is much bigger and more frightening than I used to believe and that it will find every reason to tear me apart.
So, I did things. I chased down opportunity, I never allowed myself to relax, I always took risks, I never said no and I constantly struggled. There was even a point in time where I was sitting at the Social Media 4 Good presentation and decided that I was not going to pursue anything social media in the future, as it did not interest me in the slightest, nor did I feel particularly passionate about it.
Yet at the end of it all, as I sit in this room in Hithcock, a place I’ve spent more time and felt more at home in than any of the many rooms I have lived in throughout my life, I can’t help but wonder if there really is something to this fate thing. Even though I said I would never do anything social media related, I somehow got a job with VoterTide, a company that analyzes social media to give accurate and detailed information on what people are talking about. I started following Nick Kristof and started finding myself more interested in trying to solve the problems of the world than simply solve the problems in my own life. I found out about events like Pecha Kucha, the InCommon art show, Kony2012, and countless other things I would not have found out about before. I started building websites with a talented Graphic Designer. I spent some nights with my friend Annemarie having “Studio Night,” while spending other nights in a halfway house in New Mexico learning about Nuclear Abolition. I spent the whole semester learning about worker justice and ended up writing an article about sweatshops and the initiatives of a group of Creighton students’ maniacal effort to make Creighton a symbol of worker justice. I’ve lived such a diverse and transient life in the past four months that a lot of times I forget that a year ago, I was in Ireland, ready to come home but nervous about being back at Creighton. In a way, my life has become an abstraction of the growing digital world of social media, technology, global issues, and the trans-continental connection between people. And as I sit here, immensely enjoying the process of writing this very blog post, after spending all day working on computer programs and studying things like morality and justice, I can’t help but think there may actually be some reason behind everything that happens. I know that if it weren’t for my social media class, and the guidance I have felt from some of the most amazing teachers I have had this semester, I would not be as hopeful about the future as I am today.
What have I learned this semester in social media? I’ve learned that life, like the world of the Web, has the ability to surprise, inspire, and intimidate you. Similarly, life has the ability to hit you in the face with something big (like Kony2012), and challenge you to do something about it. I’ve learned that life is full of opportunities, great people, and endless knowledge. All I have to figure out at this point is whether or not I’m able to keep up with this endlessly rising tide that is life.