When I was researching the literal translation of parfait (and by research, of course, I mean just using google) I was expecting it to mean something like “layered dessert,” but it turns out it just means “perfect.” For all you kids out there that took French you’re probably thinking “duuuuhhh” but as a Spanish student, I thought this was kinda nifty.
This little bit of linguistic research had me reminiscing about my years of taking a Spanish in school, which of course plunged me into reminiscence of being a student. There are many things I miss about being in formal education, the exposure to new ideas, inspiring teachers, the social aspect of learning in a classroom. However, there are a plenty of things I don’t miss, the seemly endless and arbitrary assessments, a constant sense of competition over collaboration, and the emphasis on results over process.
I absolutely love learning. It’s one of the best feelings. When I learn I feel like my brain’s perpetual thirst is being quenched. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being immersed in a topic you’re truly curious about, especially when you can nerd out with people who are equally as curious and passionate.
However, much of my educational experience was not like that.
It felt way more like jumping through hoops than quenching a “brain thirst.” To be honest, looking back, I wish I wasn’t such a “good student.” And by that I mean I wish I wasn’t so obsessed with following rules and trying to get good grades. In retrospect, I think my drive to achieve actually got in the way of my actual learning. I was always afraid to make mistakes which meant I adhered to rubrics like religion, instead of embracing the material in new creative ways. Turns out “real world” doesn’t have rubrics, which was tough realization.
As a naturally curious and occasionally rebellious kid, I yearned to get into more heated debates. To push back. To reject certain things I felt were arbitrary and focus on what truly excited me. But I didn’t. Instead I followed rules like a champ because I thought that’s what it meant to be successful. Good grades equals good school, equals good college, equals good job, equals good life. UGH. So boring!
In high school, I wish I had had the guts to go all in on writing and arts and explore the independent study options, instead of trying so hard to be “well rounded.” Like why did I take bother taking physics (sorry Mr. Williams!)
In college, I wish I had focused on 2 or 3 clubs, work, and class instead of trying to be on the e-board of 5 clubs and take 18 credits and work 3 jobs. It was too much width and not enough depth.
However, I do have so much to be grateful for when it comes to listening to my gut. It was after my freshman year of college that I found the blog a Beautiful Mess and decided to transfer into the Integrated Marketing Communications program instead of being in the Television and Radio department. Something about Elsie and Emma’s lifestyle wrung so true to me. It was what I had wanted but never seen in action. I wanted to be my own boss and create something of my own.
But then, for the next three years of college, I tried to fight back against my urge to just start my own “thing,” and instead tried to get a steady job that would give me “good experience,” all the while knowing in my gut that I never wanted that.
But finally, after years of reluctantly and dutifully following the rules, I’ve changed my mind and I quit my “steady job” I had worked so hard for. So here I am. Writing a blog about a parfait and making coffee during the day, to make ends meet and relying the generosity of my family for 10 months while I try to make my “something” happen. And hopefully during this time I’ll stop trying to be “perfect” and just embrace that I don’t want to be normal, I just want to learn.
- For Chia Pudding
- 1 Cup of Almond Milk
- 3 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds
- 1 Tablespoon of Maple Syrup (or sweetener of choice)
- For Parfait
- ½ Cup of Greek Yogurt
- ½ Cup of Chia Pudding
- ½ Cup of Fresh Blackberries
- 1 Tablespoon of Nut Butter
- ⅓ Cup of Granola
- To Make Chia Pudding: in a mason jar or tupperwear container mix together maple syrup and almond milk and add chia seeds. Mix until well combined and allow chia seeds to gel for at least 3 hours
- To Make Parfait: In a clear glass layer together yogurt, chia pudding, berries, granola until all ingredients are layered together. Top with a drizzle of your favorite nut butter
- Those who are out of school: is there anything you might have done differently?
- Those who are in school: what’s one thing you love, one thing you could do without?