The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
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Look out for distractions

How important are distractions in our lives? We need to answer a different question to answer this one: What exactly makes each one of us so different from each other? In our choices, our career goals and how we define happiness and success?

Let us start right at our university.

One of the most special feelings about being at SMU is the feeling of constantly being in the mix of a very eclectic group of people. SMU houses very diverse schools indeed. We have a renowned music school, an equally dynamic management and engineering school, law, humanities, life sciences, theology and many more specializations. And what makes it more interesting is the fact that the not-so-humongous size of the schools ensure good chances that any group of friends on campus will definitely have students with an assortment of different majors in it.

So I travel in a car with some of my best friends. One of who is an architect. Another is a psychology major. Then there is an organist and an MBA. We are in the same car, pass by the same sights, indeed the same route and of course the same destination. And we are definitely in the car together as friends since we share a lot in common. We are definitely looking out of the same windows in the same car. But still, are we really seeing the same things?

Well, this brings me to the answer of why we all are individuals among a crowd. Would you believe it if I said that we are all just the average of our distractions in life?

And this is the reason why: observation. I have always believed that observation is what differentiates people, and makes an individual out of a person. We all look at the same things. But we see different things. We are trained, mostly by ourselves, to do that: see things that we feel are important, or have worth. What we do in life, our ambitions, career, our education and our mental harmony are all a confluence into shaping our personality, and hence what we observe out of everything.

I’ve always felt that we humans as a whole are always a distracted bunch. Each of us may define this differently: hobbies, passions, and all that jazz. We wake up every morning and go around doing so many different things. Some of it makes us happy, and some doesn’t. But we do it. We are always distracted. The nature of these distractions, what we do about it, and what we learn from it; how we ignore the harmful ones and embrace the good ones all make each of us
an individual.

And of course, in life, sometimes we can lose focus and believe that the purpose of driving is to hold the steering straight. We could lose focus of our destinations. And that is the catch with distractions: they can make you, or break you. Sometimes they lead to discoveries or something brilliant like that, and other times they break you out of your life’s charted course.

And as we pass through experiences and circumstances in life, the same individual sees the same thing differently at different times: moods, shades and light. So, my observations and conclusions are time specific, contextual and could be
changing indefinitely.

If we keep a log of all the distractions we have in our lives, we will know what kind of observers we are. And observations make each of us who we are.

Sunil is a graduate student in Lyle School of Engineering.  

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