Here's a wake-up call that you didn't expect in the middle of finals week. That degree that you're pursuing? It isn't for you. This incredible video explains why.
Vimeo user Daniel Robinson released this tear-jerker of a video recorded by Christian spoken-word artist Stefan Vandenkooy during the most stressful time of the semester for college kids: finals week.
Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator
As college students, we seem to be competing to see who puts the most espresso shots in their Starbucks drinks, who stays up the latest taking notes over something that we should have read weeks ago, and even who binge-watches the most Netflix during intermittent fits of procrastination.
Vandenkooy's video begs the question, "When did we become so selfish?" We don't respond to each others' "How-are-you"s with "good," instead we respond with "tired," "stressed" or, usually in my case, "dying," because of the tremendous stress under which we place ourselves during this time of the year. We forgo the things that we enjoy to buckle down so that we can pull out great grades and find ourselves on the Dean's List. Once that happens we seek even further gratification by telling all our Facebook friends about what a tough road it was and how proud we are of ourselves for making those grades.
But we aren't the ones hurting. The ones who are truly hurting and in need are the ones who we will be able to help with our degrees--doctors and nurses will be able to lift up patients tortured by maladies and their families who suffer by their sides, business people and politicians will seek to affect change to help those who cannot help themselves, and teachers will fill the minds of children so that they can become the next generation of college graduates.
We focus on the negatives not because we are truly hurting, but because we want to be listened to, to be paid attention, but it's for all the wrong reasons. As college students pursuing degrees, we are not the ones to whom the attention should be paid. We are not the be-all, end-all. That title belongs to our Heavenly Father through whom and by whom and from whom everything we are and everything we do arises.
This video was such an incredible, convicting wake-up call. For me, it finally gave me an answer as to what I want to do with the rest of my life. No, it didn't paint a picture in my mind of where I'll work, how many degrees's I'll have framed on the walls of my office, and if that office is in a corner with my own bathroom or if it's just a cubicle. Instead, it reminded me that I'm incredibly privileged to receive a college education because I can use it to better serve my God.
We're so restless and sleep-deprived because of our laser-like focus on graduating, finding a job, and making money that we forget to seek rest in God and to insert that inner peace into our studies.
The most riveting part of this video for me was when Stefan said, "Your degree is not for you. It is for those who are hurting."
The degree that we receive is not a piece of paper that we can hang on a wall, use as a conversation topic with strangers or just a line item on a resume. Our college degrees should be treated as the key to a door that we will be able to open in order to comfort those who are hurting and help those who cannot help themselves. As finals week approaches you should find peace in God and in the fact that what you're doing is so incredible. We may be sleepy, overly caffeinated, and anxious as all get-out, but through God, we are spiritually awake and we are at peace.
"Your degree is just the door. Your work ethic is the key. But it is only by the grace and the strength of God that you will walk through that door and help whoever may be on the other side."