Hearing the Future

By: Hannah Ticoras

I am a notorious eavesdropper. In high school I would to go to Denny’s after I got off my late shift at the movie theater and transcribe as many of the conversations as I could hear – drawing illustrations on the opposing page of the people or the stories they were relaying.

One of my favorite relationships to witness was this man who came in every night at midnight and the cook that worked at the same time (I don’t remember their names, let’s call them Rick and Julie). Rick would get three pancakes every morning, which could get very boring, except that the cook would create a different design on the pancakes. One morning Julie would make a smiley face out of chocolate chips, the next morning she would cut the pancakes so they looked like a heart, etc. Knowing that Rick’s lonely morning pancakes were made exciting by Julie lifted my own early morning spirits – there is good out there.

At my position as Undergraduate Research Scholar in Building 22 at the Ridges, I sit right outside the office of a main advisor for the MPA program. When I’m not listening to The Shins Pandora Radio — highly suggest if you like songs like this one:

— I can hear the meetings that go on between this faculty member and students. Each day I hear students come in with buckets of ideas – ideas hanging from their backs and running at their heels – ideas that all say this is how I will change the world.

Although I can’t transcribe the conversations, or draw illustrations to go along with them, I still listen fervently. These are students who want to create better drug and alcohol programs for K-12 students, build up the job force on American Indian reservations, and educate middle school students on healthy sexual behaviors. These are students who will create programs that will create a better space to live.

As they sit and tell the advisor all their ideas, she throws back organizations to look at, books to read, people to find. Slowly she shapes their wide berth of ideas into a manageable and powerful goal. Like Julie’s pancakes: Every student wants to do something different.

I come to the Voinovich School at Building 22 three days a week, and each day I am treated to a different vision of a new world. I hope that someday I will be able to create my own vision.

There is good out there, and it begins here. 

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