Yesterday was registration day for #NSLCINTL and #NSLCLAWA at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. I've packed up a tiny dorm room into a tiny suitcase, and sprinted (literally) through an airport since I last shared a tidbit of my life on this platform. I'm still working for the NSLC, just at a different location, and I'm still gaining valuable insights from the amazing humans I get to work and interact with on a daily basis.
Something that the students at NSLC learn about in their time with us is commitment in action, and out of all of the lessons that I've learned here, this one is something that I have quite a bit to say about.
Anyone reading this (hopefully) has a pretty decent idea of what commitment means, whether that commitment is aimed at a person, a goal, or anything else. To commit is to pledge ones self to complete a task of some sort. Commitment in action takes that a step further. Commitment in action doesn't just look at the end – it examines and challenges the process of committing to something. I suppose everyone can define it differently, but this is how I understand the concept.
I committed to moving to Germany over a year ago, and as of today, I'm 23 (!!!) days from departure. Since my initial commitment to this major move, I have been taking steps to ensure that my transition from small-town Ohio to Leipzig, a city of more than half a million people, will be as smooth as possible. I know I will need to pay rent for about a year and also want to travel all around the continent, so I've been saving money. I know I can only take one suitcase with me, so I've been getting rid of the clothes I don't wear (and admittedly, updating parts of my wardrobe that desperately need it... and some that don't).
I also committed to an amazing summer job that has taken me to two new cities, introduced me to countless new friends, and has really showed me how amazing my home country can be. The future is bright, people – and these kids I get to work with day after day show me that in their excitement and energy. When I took the job last April, I committed to the work but I also committed to letting myself experience life and not just hoard away all of my hard earned paychecks. I've enjoyed bottomless mimosas at brunch, had a very much needed pedicure with some of my fellow staffers, upgraded one of my camera lenses, and bought yet another clothing-related souvenir (yeah... oops) from the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. I am committed to saving money and being able to thrive in Germany for the next year or so, but I'm also committed to living in the moment and experiencing life as it happens.
The exercise that the students do related to commitment in action is super fun and pushes them out of their comfort zones early on in the session. Everyone stands in two lines, with an aisle in between. Each student has to pick an action – in this case, a dance move – and commit to do it, with 110% effort, all the way down the line. With 25 or so students on each side, it's a bit longer than you'd think. Even the simple step of committing to an over-the-top sprinkler or spinning wildly and trying not to get too dizzy as you make your way down a row of people you barely know is hard. (I never said commitment was easy!) This action, translated to other aspects of the students lives, shows them what it means to really dig their heels in to something and get it done.
A lot of my posts recently have been about what the students (and I) are learning at the NSLC, and this is no accident. In committing to this organization, I knew the job I signed a contract for but I didn't realize that I would be committing to change certain aspects of my life. For this, I am forever grateful.
We as humans make multiple commitments every day – to meet our friends for lunch and show up on time, to do yoga for 23 days in a row (aka challenge #3, today is day 3), to sign petitions and march against all sorts of inequalities. After being part of the Commitment in Action series at Rice and now here at Georgetown, I personally am committing to increase the depth of my commitments and my plans. With this blog, for example, I have given myself 23 challenges (well 21, I still need two more!) and am blogging every week-ish. This just scratches the surface though. What do I want to get out of this? A schedule, more clips, in shape...? Great. If I stick to these plans, I'll scrape by "successfully." But to really commit to my actions, I need to branch out a little more and keep asking myself the following:
...okay, so what's my next step?
I'll let you know when I figure it out.