Sunday, November 17, 2013

CIA/West Point Collaboration Part 3: Significance

The most striking memory of the experience to me, is the similarities between these two vastly different worlds. At CIA, our existence is inspired by food. At West Point, their world is based on a military mission to defend and honor our country. Yet, students at West Point and CIA are united by their similarities.

We both speak in #hashtags as if that is an appropriate way to verbally communicate our thoughts, ideas, or emotions. We both enjoy our nights at the local bar and embrace our unique (if very different and fleeting) phase of freedom and minimal adult responsibility. We both date people that we find attractive and think maybe we might fall in love with one day. We both simultaneously dream of our future while we fear for our ability to make the right decision. We both have tragic moments of self defeat and sweet moments of wild success.

It may be tempting if you are not one of us to think that because we have committed to a specific industry that somehow we have it figured out. We don’t. Maybe we are one step ahead of the average twenty-something in our careers but that does not mean our lives are predetermined. Commitment to the military or a restaurant is not an excuse to rob us of our final moments of occasionally reckless, and certainly uncertain youth.

So maybe it’s just me.

But maybe it’s not just me, maybe I’m not alone in witnessing this strange dichotomy that occurs between figuring IT out and shrugging IT off. Maybe we are all in this together and we have a lot more in common than we think we do. The beauty of the human experience is its intrinsic ability to be completely unique, yet subconsciously common.

This collaboration between West Point and CIA students blurred the boundaries of our differences. It left me with a poignant awareness of our similarities that I believe could apply in many other situations where the differences seem more apparent than the similarities.

To me, it made our subconscious similarities that bind us together as members of the human family, conscious similarities that instill an understanding that maybe we’re all a little more similar than we think.

Read more about the exchange experience:
CIA/West Point Collaboration, Part 1: @West Point
CIA/West Point Collaboration, Part 2: @CIA

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