Like many who come into college, I started my academic career by taking “generals”. These are classes like sociology 1001, biology 1000, and intro to psychology.
In these courses, we skim the various topics that pertain to the overall subjects- like in biology we briefly went over definitions of evolution, genetics, and cell functions. Each topic covered spanned about two weeks long. We took an exam, forgot about what we learned, and then moved onto the next subject.
While these classes gave us a chance to explore the wide range of studies available to us, they lacked an in-depth understanding of why the lessons were meaningful and didn’t give us the ability to have long conversations about what we had learned.
It’s not until 3000-level subjects when we are able to completely unpack and learn deeply a certain aspect of an overarching subject. We take more time focusing on each lesson and usually have one big project that we work on the entire semester.
What does this have to do with deeper meaning?
Have you ever gone to a social gathering and realized you are engaging in surface level conversations with people?
These conversations sound like tape recordings “how are you?” “how’s work?” “what’s new?”
After a while, these conversations drain our energy. Why is that?
We crave connection and meaning.
Social gatherings honestly suck until you get into those unique conversations that you don’t engage with in your everyday life. They excite us and make us feel like we are really getting to know the person we are talking with.
These conversations usually occur once we get more comfortable and situated in an environment.
If you are like me, you want to give everyone attention at an event. You want to say hi to everyone, but sometimes engaging with just a few people allows for more memorable conversations plus once you have a really good conversation it makes it easier to engage in more.
Not only do I enjoy depth in social settings, but I find when I work on just one or two projects during the day, I feel much more satisfied. Focusing on finishing a book or an art project instead of doing small bits of everything is much more rewarding. Trying to pack too much in our day makes for a chaotic life.
So what I’m really trying to say is that engaging with more in-depth content is so much more interesting and fulfilling. When my day has at least one deep interaction or lesson, I feel peaceful and whole. When my days are full of lots of superficial content, I feel like something is missing. In some ways, this deeper meaning is achieved by simplicity. Less can be more.
What do you think?