Friday, April 25, 2014

back

Show Me the Sustainability! Advice for New Sustainable Living Students

I’m here, I’m a new Sustainable Living student at MUM. I’ve packed up, I’ve said my goodbyes (for now) and I’ve moved to Fairfield Iowa to get my education in sustainability. Now, where is it? Where is the sustainability?


The answer is: Sustainability is all around you. Rather, your opportunity to experience sustainability is all around you. Anything can be your entry-point. You don’t have to wait until graduation or until you land a successful sustainability-related job to begin your life of sustainability.

Sustainability is about seeing problems as future solutions. Since it is about a redefinition of human’s relationship to the Earth and to the art of living in general, there are infinite ways to begin creating a vision of a better life for yourself. It is all up to you.

Now that you are here at MUM, allow my words to be your invitation to create the best possible educational experience while you are an SL student. Make it happen for yourself! Allow your time at MUM to be where you dive into life, and begin practices of living that pave the way for a more fulfilling life for yourself, and as a result, a better life for the planet.

As I start my second semester as an SL student here at MUM, and I think about You, the new student, just beginning your journey here, I have taken some time to reflect on what I have learned about my experience thus far, and I have come up with some suggestions that I wish someone had told me when I first got here.

It is my hope that you benefit from these, and from the very center of my heart.

10 Things I wish I already knew when I began my Sustainable Living studies:

1. Get Grounded First.

Though it may sound like I am telling you to rush out and act, act, act, do take some time to get grounded. Set up your dorm room, make sure you have everything you need to be comfortable, get all the warm clothes you want for the upcoming winter weather, etc. Take time to familiarize yourself with the resources of this campus and of the town of Fairfield. Ensure that your basic needs are met. With a great foundation, you will best be poised for effective action!

2. Keep Yourself Healthy.

This goes along with getting grounded, but if you are not taking care of yourself and getting enough sleep, your basis for a successful college career will be shaky. Dare yourself to become as healthy as you possibly can! And if you do get sick, don’t hesitate to take a step back and take care of yourself. Your own wellness should come first for you.

3. Use Everything.

This is where some more tangible sustainability philosophy kicks in: Nothing is wasted in nature--everything has its functional place in the whole. Find inspiration in this. If something is challenging to you, ask yourself where the lesson is in the challenge. If something sparks your interest, whatever that may be, use that as an invitation to become engaged in your reality. You may be surprised where it leads you.

4. Get Involved--No, Seriously, Get Involved.

The thing about MUM and Fairfield, is that there are lots of people doing all sorts of interesting things, and they tend to be the kind of people doing stuff that is interesting and for the improvement of society. These are exactly the kind of people who would be looking for other inspired, capable individuals to help them in their endeavors.

5. Make What You Want to See.

If you get here and have a vision of an exciting idea, project or solution to a problem and you don’t see it happening--make it happen! While we are on the topic of visions, spend some quality time with yourself envisioning what you see your ideal future to be like. Write it down. If you know what you want in your life, this makes it easier for you to create it for yourself. Don’t be afraid to get specific.

6. Find Your Niche.

You are new and I guarantee you will be meeting lots of wonderful people. You may spend the next few weeks or months getting to know all the types of students, who, like you, were attracted to coming to MUM for one reason or another. And though it may be difficult to think about this now, because you will be having so much fun, I definitely suggest keeping it in your mind to guide yourself more toward the folks that you click with the most. Not that there is anything wrong with the people you don't click with, but the ones that fit with you will make up an invaluable source of support and harmonization in your life. Your life will be enriched by your complements.

7. Be Easy With Yourself.

Change takes time. The process of taking stock of what is going on around you, gathering information and coming to an understanding of all the mechanisms that make up a phenomenon also takes time.  Therefore, the solutions wont necessarily organize themselves together for you overnight. Be patient with the process, trust that you can find value in all the steps along the way, and let yourself off the hook a little if things start becoming too frustrating.

8. Honor Your Passions.

What sparks you, what excites you, what is interesting to you? Pay attention. And something that tends to get left out when talking about these kinds of things is: What comes easy to you? Embrace and elevate your natural skills. It’s good to challenge one’s self, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to use the skills that come easily to you. Use everything, remember?

9. Have Fun!

This could be one of the most widely circulated, yet most underrated pieces of advice out there. “Yeah, yeah, ‘have fun.’ Whatever, this is serious business! I’m here to save the planet! There is no time to think about having fun.” This is something you could be saying to yourself. But this is not true! It is your birthright as a human to live a rewarding, fulfilling and joyful life. If you find yourself undertaking a pursuit that is stressing you out too much, take a step back. Relax. Don’t be afraid to find the fun in it. Besides, the more you are enjoying yourself, the more successful you will find you will be at whatever you are trying to do.

10. Ask for What You Want.

Whether it be for help, advice, suggestions, clarification, or directions--anything!--if you want it, ask for it. You will have a more satisfying time here if you acknowledge your desires and honor them through asking questions. Please ask things of your teachers, TAs, administration, and fellow students. Find out who your faculty advisor is and meet with them as soon as you can to start getting advice on how to guide your educational action. Make good use of the plethora of expertise available to you as a student of Sustainable Living at MUM!

And finally, last but not least, don’t forget to meditate. No one told me to say that, I’m serious with this one. Transcendental Meditation is a gift of learning to access and experience your true nature, and you can bring this gift anywhere with you in the world. It is a valuable practice to make habit!

Okay, New Students! I look forward to seeing you on campus, in classes, and around town, and I can't wait to observe all the positive effects that you will have in our Sustainable Living community! And thanks for reading.

Now that you are here at MUM, allow my words to be your invitation to create the best possible educational experience while you are an SL student. Make it happen for yourself! Allow your time at MUM to be where you dive into life, and begin practices of living that pave the way for a more fulfilling life for yourself, and as a result, a better life for the planet.

As I start my second semester as an SL student here at MUM, and I think about You, the new student, just beginning your journey here, I have taken some time to reflect on what I have learned about my experience thus far, and I have come up with some suggestions that I wish someone had told me when I first got here.

It is my hope that you benefit from these, and from the very center of my heart, I welcome you to MUM!

Morgan's Blog

back



 
 
search login
 


Click here to cancel

You were trying to view a protected page.
Please login to gain access or cancel to go back to the site.
User ID:  
Password:  


Forgot your password?