While all of the presenters were great, I connected to Dr. Lawrence David’s talk the most. It wasn’t the overview of his science that drew me in, it was his call to be okay in discomfort (and even seek it). I have moved 8 times, so often times whenever I start to become comfortable in the new setting, I have to move to another place. Like Dr. David, I learned to not only embrace this discomfort but also to revel in it. It was funny when he almost questioned if he would stay at Duke long term, because I also find myself bored whenever I stay at a place longer than a couple of years. Afterwards, however, he mentioned something about him being okay with staying at Duke as long as he gets to create discomfort another way. By challenging himself to work with new concepts, new departments, and just being open to new ways of thinking.
That really resonated with me, because for the longest time, my discomfort has been set by external factors- moving to new places, meeting new people etc. During this time, you have all of the motivation to question who you are, who you want to be, and change accordingly. But this discomfort eventually dies down, and it leads to a phase of being entirely too comfortable with your own self and ideologies. It’s nice, but nice is static. There isn’t any growth. If that phase comes when I am at Duke, I will use his saying and “create discomfort another way”. I will find ways to challenge my views, my morals, and create discomfort within myself so that I don’t have to rely on external factors to motivate my growth.
Aside: My Quora description used to be “college student searching for [insert monotony antonym]”, but now I have changed it to searching for entropy.