seeking inspiration in the mundane & unfamiliar
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2 pieces, same thought. Both interesting.


"Students determine the level of classroom discussion; they shape your values and expectations, for good and ill. It’s partly because of the students that I’d warn kids away from the Ivies and their ilk. Kids at less prestigious schools are apt to be more interesting, more curious, more open, and far less entitled and competitive."


"The first disadvantage of an elite education, as I learned in my kitchen that day, is that it makes you incapable of talking to people who aren’t like you. Elite schools pride themselves on their diversity, but that diversity is almost entirely a matter of ethnicity and race. With respect to class, these schools are largely—indeed increasingly—homogeneous."

Wiliam Deresiewicz

My friends say one of my biggest talents is my ability to reinvent myself. I think it’s the ability to wake up one morning and realize that I’m becoming a different person and the labels that have been applied to me for one part of my life no longer apply.

It was while attending the Workshop that Cisneros discovered how the particular social position she occupied gave her writing a unique potential.

She recalls being suddenly struck by the differences between her and her classmates:

"It wasn’t as if I didn’t know who I was. I knew I was a Mexican woman. But, I didn’t think it had anything to do with why I felt so much imbalance in my life, whereas it had everything to do with it! My race, my gender, and my class! And it didn’t make sense until that moment, sitting in that seminar. That’s when I decided I would write about something my classmates couldn’t write about."

People learn best when they are dropped in a foreign country and their survival depends on their learning the language. All knowledge is like this—you learn best when you need it.
People who have an easy time of things… I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that.
We’re building a movement. I heard those words and over and over. And I believed them. I finally saw how pigheaded and judgy my old attitude had been. I was so quick to equate solidarity with intolerant jingoism, I assumed all loyalty was blind. I didn’t see, until those people were kind enough to take me in, that being part of a group could be enlightening or beautiful or good.

Jenny Zhang, Odd Girl In