With a fresh batch of ready-to-graduate students in front of him, Joseph E. Aoun, President of Northeastern University, shares the principle that runs the university – experience. The students at Northeastern University, he says, learn from experience that helps us reinvent ourselves. This is a vital difference, he goes on, that separates us from machines.
Drawing upon the significance of reinvention of the self, Westover who was awarded her second doctoral degree in the ceremony says that there is a need to acknowledge and accept all experiences in life and not just the ones that may seem “glamorous”. There is a constant image of ourselves that we put up on social media but it becomes necessary to accept the “un-Instagrammable” things in ourselves as well. What could happen if we do not do this, according to her, is that not only will others not be able to accept us for who we are but there is a danger of ourselves not able to do so. With filters and cherry picking of instances in our lives into what can and cannot be posted on the social media, we constantly try to make ourselves feel that we are not good enough the way we are.
Aoun and Westover make important points, especially with consideration to the youth today. With some experiences valued over others, some pictures getting more ‘likes’ than others, there is a dissociation happening between our selves and who we would like to project ourselves as. Only if we address this issue as soon as possible can we go ahead and become the responsible inheritors of the world the future needs us to be.
N Malavika Mohan