Tag Archives: The Resistance

Deep Springs

I was briefly reminded today about the importance of hard work, of facing The Resistance.  I was riding my bike to the gym when I saw an older woman wearing a sky blue Deep Springs College shirt. Most people have never heard of this school, but trying to get in all but consumed me for about six months in 2008. I found out about the college when I met a few alumni in Wisconsin in the summer of 2008. I learned that it was an all-boys school that revolves around three pillars: academics, labor, and self-governance. The school’s 26 students are assigned an intense academic workload, manage a farm in the middle of the desert in Nevada, and are in charge of the admissions and the hiring and firing of faculty. After two years, most students go on to prestigious schools around the country. Many years ago, just getting into the school meant a guaranteed a full ride to Cornell. The Deep Springers I met seemed superhuman to me.  I was infatuated with the idea of getting into Deep Springs and being transformed by the experience.

Getting into Deep Springs is not easy.  The first round demands applicants write three very opened-ended essays about who the applicant is, what their intellectual pursuits include,  what books they’ve read, and what problems they want to solve in the world. If they pass the first round, they go on to another round with something like seven essays, and finally an interview with the whole student body on the campus. I didn’t make it past the first round. I’ve never had a mental breakdown, but I basically did applying to this school.

I haven’t thought about Deep Springs in a long time, but seeing that shirt for a split second as a I zoomed passed on my bike brought that very intense period of my life back to me. I realize today that I was far from getting accepted. At that point in my life, I was wishing a lot of good things would happen to me, and thinking that if i just kept wishing, they would come true. I didn’t acknowledge, or really even understand, that you need to work really hard to make good things happen to you. I didn’t work hard enough for Deep Springs. Ask anyone who I was around during that time if I wanted it enough, they’ll tell you yes. It’s the only thing I talked about. But I didn’t work hard enough for it, and I wasn’t even aware of how far behind I was.

Going Harder

When you’re comfortable, feeling good about what you’re doing, laughing to yourself at how lucky and amazing your life is, that’s awesome. It also means you need to work harder. When you’re stressed, pressed for something, and feel like you’ve slipped up or failed, you can get the fire burning  under you and easily to get back on track. When you’re on your game and feeling good, that’s when you’ll start to slip. Your ego tells you that you’re smart, you’re doing it right, you made it! But it’s wrong, that’s The Resistance. Push harder now, because you’re going to fall again, and if you’re not always moving forward, you’ll fall harder.

This is how I feel now. I moved to San Diego six weeks ago (more on why later) and it’s not easy place to do hard work. It’s 75 and sunny everyday and I’m always within 20 minutes of the beach.  I just start laughing to myself at how ridiculous it all is. It was my plan to come to California after I graduated college. But it’s so much better than I expected. I know the east coast is starting to bundle up for winter, and it was an unseasonable 85 today. I am laughing at how crazy the ways things have worked out. I am working in the exact environment (more on that later) I wanted with an all-star team, and we’re working for a mission that I actually believe it. I am emotionally attached moral fibers of the company. Even as I’m typing this I am fucking laughing at how ridiculous it is. Still, I know the hard shit will come soon. But I’ll just surf off the stress on the weekends.