In a matter of just two days, a summer school that brings together so many different disciplines, creative minds, and innovative ideas can make a participant feel like a child challenged to consider the questions: “So, who do you want to be when you grow up?”
Before arriving, the answer to this question would seem so simple: “Of course I will be (insert academic profession here) because this is my title or due to my previous experience”. After meeting so many unique minds in circle discussions, informal coffee break conversations, and passively strolling around the host site, this question might be more difficult to answer.
The first day, I wanted to be a yoga instructor and take pride in knowing that I at least helped others to relieve stress from travel and prepare for a week full of new information, topics, and experiences. Later that day, the notion of becoming a citizenship teacher who could make a difference in how young people understand and actively participate in democracy became extremely important during a lecture on support for different political leaders. Then in the evening, the Jazz and Folk artists inspired me to consider taking up musical expression with their intermittent explanations of the historical significance of the songs they performed.
The whirlwind of possible futures continued the next day when video representations of Iranian women living in Finland by Sepideh Rahas made it clear that art and film were a meaningful way to impact social change. A few hours later however, the tragic experiences and knowledge shared by keynote speaker Jason de León emphasized how, as an anthropologist, I would be able to investigate and aim to understand real life situations.
Sports instructor, teacher, musician, artist, anthropologist, or researcher? As the week progresses, there is no doubt that this list will grow. We all have the potential to be many professions, but who says we have to choose and identify with just one? The greatest takeaway from reconsidering “who I want to be when I ´grow´ up” could be a reminder of the diverse resources and perspectives continuously available for us in any field we may choose.
Photo by Eduardo Abrantes