“To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.” – Secret Life of Walter Mitty
This quote seemed very appropriate to finish our trip with. I discovered it while watching the movie it came from on the plane ride home. I think there is a simplistic beauty in it’s complexity. Its easy to talk about the enlightenment that can come from seeing the world. The complexity is in the doing and actually taking a look not just behind the wall of our world but behind the wall of ourselves. Traveling teaches us about the earth we inhabit and allows for introspection that is impossible in the comfort of our home.
On the trip one of our students was talking about what the point of learning was if we just forget it all after the test. I interjected that they might be missing the point of an education. Learning is more then just memorizing facts for a test. Education is about self discovery, finding your passions and exploration. As a teacher my hope is that along the way students become better people with the capacity and drive to continue learning and improving. That is why this class was one of the most important ones I have ever taught. The most vital lessons our students learned were less about film making and more about self discovery. The documentary was a bonus.
The greatest joy as a professor is to see your students transformed. I’m humbled and blessed to have been a part of this class’ experience. It was heartwarming for me to sit in that circle our last evening in Kenya and hear the stories from our students about what they got out of the trip. And you know what, not one student talked about documentary film making, and I couldn’t have been happier.
Thanks to a group of amazingly talented young adults, it was a true privilege to be your teacher.