As Honors students, I think we all have experienced that spark for learning, that love for all things we do not yet understand, but seek to discover at some point in our lives. It was what set us upon this path to seek higher education and become Honors students. It is the drive to uncover mysteries and discover all that is amazing in this world. I know, for me, it was in my middle school life sciences class where I first felt that spark, that fascination with living things and life. I wanted to discover all that I could about the human body and understand how we all started from something so small and became what we are now.

However, as I sit here, in between my thousand Zoom calls a day, still taking classes from the confines of my childhood bedroom, I feel less and less of that spark, that love for learning. I still want to understand the world around me, but that strong, overwhelming desire to uncover all the secrets of this crazy life is slowly dwindling. I like to think that this pandemic has not completely disrupted my life. I want to believe, like most people, that if I just keep waiting around, one day, soon, life will go back to the way it was before. But, after listening to a podcast the other day, it dawned on me. I am just waiting for something that is not going to happen the way I expect it to. Let me explain. 

I recently discovered Spirits, a podcast that discusses and explores legends, folklore, mythology, and all things supernatural. They published a new segment in which listeners wrote letters to the hosts asking for advice and guidance, and the hosts of the show would respond with the wisdom and teachings of various gods and goddesses. In this particular episode, one piece of advice really stood out to me. It went like this: “There is no one path through the forest, only that which the animals walk frequently to give the appearance of a path: a convenient way through the forest. But when this path is blocked by a tree, the animals do not panic, they simply find another way through the forest because they know there is no one right path.”

Listening to this episode of the podcast during the first week of another semester of online classes really helped put things into perspective. The path that I thought I would follow through the forest, the convenient one, had been blocked when the pandemic hit. So, I felt unsure of how to continue on my journey. I felt that because the path ahead was lost from view, so too was my spark. So, I have just been waiting for that spark to come back to me, thinking that it will only return once life returns to normal. I believed that I had only one path that would lead through the forest. I was unlike the animals in this story. I panicked. I kept denying the fact that the path I thought I would walk through life was blocked by a tree so big, that not even a few months, patiently waiting around, could clear it away. I felt less motivated and willing to find a new path because I was so sure this was the only way, and so, that spark, that love for learning, started to fade. 

Now, I believe many people, especially my fellow Honors students, may be feeling this way too. They may be unsure of how to find their way through the forest, and feel that it would be easier to just wait. And they are not alone in that thought, but waiting for one path to clear will not bring that spark back, only finding a new path will. Remember, there is no one right way through life or a forest, just a convenient one. So, remind yourself of the spark that first set you on this path, this journey, and follow it. Let that desire to discover the world be what leads you through the forest.


To check out the podcast referenced in this post, click here!

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