Making Media Making Change Student Blogger Study USA

Do what you love: a goodbye

Each term, one participant from each HECUA program takes on the role of student blogger, sending regular dispatches from the field. Carter Starkey (he/him/his) is HECUA’s student blogger for Making Media, Making Change Spring 2021. He is student at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, majoring in communications. Read on for his final post!

I’ve been caught up in things lately. Caught up in the future, caught up in my own thoughts, caught up in the undying uncertainty that we all know intimately. At times, my attention feels like a rag-doll in the mouth of a family dog. I’m being tossed around and torn apart, but at least someone’s having fun doing it right? As we finished our time together, my cohort and I all felt that unsureness. We talked to no end about all the things for which we weren’t prepared. In our space, if you felt lost, you at least knew that you were lost together – with support in your wandering.

That is what I’ll miss the most, I think. We’re all headed toward the horizon, toward something, but there comes a time where the road splits, and suddenly we’re back on our own. The hard part is that nobody is ever prepared for that time, at least, I’m not.

Black dog pants happily in the grass and guards a tennis ball between its feet.
Summer offers more time to play with my own family dog. This is Louie.

At the same time, I feel a rush of freedom that is often accompanied by summer. I smell the late blooming trees, seemingly spewing pollen directly into my eyes and nose (shout out to my allergy medicines!) Now with more time to myself, I feel the urge to create, to read, to be more engaged with the things that make me happy. I’m seeing friends more and more (BIG shout out to vaccines!) and I’m reminded more and more of the fact that whatever normalcy I was envisioning as “the end of covid” is a fantasy. It will not, or maybe does not, look like I thought it would. I am far more comforted by the fact that there will come a sense of normalcy, regardless of how much it resembles the desperate expectations I once had of it. 

I’ve taken this time to reorient my goals. To think more and more about what it is I love, and then dig deeper into why I love them. I’m doing this to celebrate the release of a new book, The Anthropocene Reviewed, by John Green. The podcast that preceded this book has long been a source of inspiration for me, professionally, creatively, and personally. Now, I’m living inside of that passion on a very real level, and ruminating on all the ways this project has changed how I see the world. In the show (and now also in the book), John Green reviews aspects of the human-centered planet on a five star scale; which is in and of itself a critique of the concept of five star ratings. I highly recommend seeking out the Anthropocene Reviewed at your earliest convenience, I promise you won’t regret it.

The Anthropocene by John Green.

If anything, I’d hope that we’re all able to push further toward our passions this summer. I’ve come to see this time as a form of motivation, a challenge even. As if the world is saying, “Do what you love, and see where it takes you.” I’m trying to meet that challenge with my best foot forward. I have ambitions to write much more this summer, and keep in mind the many techniques that I learned this year in Making Media, Making Change. There is space in the world for more stories, more compassion, and more humanity. From behind my computer screen, I wish to fill that space.

So that’s my advice to you all too. Even in a goodbye, love drives us forward. This will be my last post here, and from the bottom of my heart I want to say,

Thanks for reading.

Carter

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