For my college transfer application essay, I shared an excerpt from a poem I wrote called ‘Ideas’.
The poem was inspired by the fact that it’s so important to share good ideas (one of the reasons why I really love TED talks). In truth, I also wrote it initially as a rebuke to a couple of classmates I was working with when I was in college in Indiana.
It was a religious studies class. We were divided into groups by our professor and tasked with a presentation project. As we discussed our thoughts, I distinctly remember that every single idea I contributed fell on deaf ears. None of my suggestions made it into the actual project – in fact, they were barely given a nod or the slightest bit of acknowledgement, and I could not for the life of me understand why I was being ignored.
Enraged, I went back into the classroom and furiously scribbled the words that would become this poem as they tumbled out of my mind. Though they were borne of frustration and anger, they also inspired the resolve I have to consider every possible opinion when it comes to collaborative work. You never know where a breakthrough could come from. But I also thought about how many people never contribute their ideas in a group setting because they simply feel intimidated, or like me, have experienced debilitating rejection. Sadly, we are all the poorer for it.
I share this now because I’ve been reflecting quite a bit on how important it is to be in an environment of open collaboration, where the sharing of ideas is encouraged. I’m thinking about this mostly because it’s one of the most important things I consider as I continue to seek job opportunities. I’d hate to be in a place where I would be stifled, and where I would not have the opportunity to contribute and to learn from others. I want to be in a place where I can openly share my thoughts and ideas, and can learn in equal measure. That’s what I wanted from my college. That’s what I want from my career. And because of that, I’m confident that I’ll land in the right place.
O, greatest melancholy! When sagest ideas
brought forth void of bias or selfish intent,
lay crushed by the tread of subliminal jeer –
forsaken, for sake of maintaining convention.
From small thoughts are great inventions oft’ made,
but execution does release full potential,
save those executed on gallows mind made
by ignorant beings that treat ‘selves as preferential.
These un-conceived concepts are thenceforth resigned
by brilliant minds – blinded to their advantage –
to darkest abodes, to expire unsigned,
thus leaving the world to its great disadvantage.
Let minds speak their portions. You may be surprised
that from simple musings, genius does arise.
© Shiku Wangombe