My 8th grade social studies teacher described it as America’s fate to take over the west, but I believe we are on the verge of another manifest destiny that revolves around the transportation industry. As the 21-year-old not yet college graduate that I am, I have enough enthusiasm to be confident that I’m right!
I became obsessed with the future of transportation when listening to the TED radio news hour on npr one Friday afternoon in June, 2014. Can you believe I can actually trace it back? Listen to it if you want because it originally validated my decision to become a mechanical engineer. The sections by Bill Ford (13:23) and Robin Chase (23:20) are my favorite.
It’s fascinating now what they predicted correctly and what trends fell into oblivion. Some of the messages in the podcast are the precursor ideas that companies like Uber and Tesla are capitalizing on. Back in 2014, just TWO years ago, this was hardly public, common knowledge. The gist is that the population is growing, traffic is spirally out of control around the world, we are becoming a very urban and impatient society, and we are truly on the brink of a transportation revolution towards driverless, electric and car-sharing programs. How thrilling is that?!? It gives me FOMO just thinking about it. If I was saying this to you in person, I probably wouldn't be taking a breath in between thoughts. The best part is that I'm hardly the only person at Tufts, or in the tech world, who gets excited about this. This conversation topic comes up a lot in Anderson Hall.
Ever since, it has been my schpeal of nerdiness that gets my adrenaline pumping to the point that I lose my chill and completely forget a lot of social norms, like talking in full sentences. It tends to only spew out of me once I know the other person well enough to accept me for my incoherent babbling. That’s how I know I’ve found a passion (and a great friend).
For you prospective Jumbos, just know that finding your passion, or your manifest destiny if you are willing to take it that seriously, is not predictable in its method or its outcome. To make it even more difficult, the perceived end goal is equally undefinable. It’s something that will happen with enough persistence, just like those caravan drivers blindly and ambitiously trusting that the west holds a brighter future.
So pretty soon (or maybe already) you will have to write a slew of college essays that embody you and your passions, which to me is a scary, confining word. I’ve since changed my definition of passion to be a zeal and motivation to wake up every morning, keep working hard, and keep learning. Just remember that passions are your own and not for anyone else, they may fade in and out, and you have to try out a bunch to figure out the good ones. A passion is not a one-track minded, all-life consuming vigor towards a subject, but maybe it is for a very small amount of people. Personally, I get bored by one-track minded thinking and need to change it up very often.
I'm getting pretty sentimental because I'm trying to figure out my post-grad plans right now, and this discussion feels very relevant to my own experience. Because of that, I'm realizing that all of these wise words sound great but are a lot harder to follow through on, so on that note, I’m out. Interpret this discussion however seriously you wish!
Feature Image Credit: "Traffic streaming through downtown Boston, just after sunset." by Robbie Shade licensed under CC BY 2.0.