When I picture a leader, I think of strength that can garner attention and pull a crowd together. I think of the an easy-going air that everyone naturally grows to. I think of a perfect screenshot of mid-laughter. Before NELS, I had one clear cut image of a leader. Now, I have Evan.
Now this isn’t to say Evan isn’t all those things, but Evan’s a little different. He’s weird, unpredictably witty, sarcastic, and nerdy beyond belief. He looks like a young Kenny G with a head full of curls but with these doe-like big blue eyes. Like huge cartoon-like eyes, it’s stunning. His movements are almost cartoon like, bouncy and animated in a way that each hand motion or step released a bubble of energy. Vibes. Vibes everywhere.
Hold your space means to be here, be now, be present. Hold your space in this moment right now and be fully enveloped in the present. During our free time, values, journaling sessions, group activities, and meal times, if I wasn’t already in a conversation with Evan, I would sneak little glances of him and notice that this boy is always in a deeply passionate conversation. Then I realized it wasn’t coincidence, because he’s just so full of life.
We had a no phones policy at NELS and during lunch one day, Evan was told multiple times to put his phone away. The standard reason for being on your phone was conventional: checking/responding to texts, Snapchatting, Instagram, Facebook, you know, the usual. What was Evan doing? This boy was looking up the planets and facts about them. Evan was risking consequences because in that moment he needed to look up planets. C’mon, tell me that doesn’t give you at least the slightest smile?
It was like being around Evan made me so much nerdier. I haven’t talked about coding or much of that stuff since my Stanford days, but during the banquet, Jake, Evan, and I developed a full conversation in coding, robotics, and all of the in-betweens. Somehow Evan also has learned TUTOR, a widely adaptable programming language used for anything from sorting records to MRPGs. Like, who learns TUTOR for programming? What are you doing Evan??
OH and let’s just take a quick moment to talk about Evan’s dancing skills. Because this brings it to the dance floor. I wish I got it in the Destination: NELS 2016 video but here’s a grab from what I did have. Just the way Evan dances makes me smile. He’s just so cinematic.
At values one night, Evan stressed how important it is to take an acting/theatre class in college. It’ll be a way to find your niche and express yourself in outlets where you may not have originally known. I am terrified of being on stage for anything besides walking and posing, but I’m going to do my best and follow his advice just because I know it’ll be worth it.
Thanks for teaching me how to be in the present. I’m always worrying about the future or stuck in the good times of the past, but when I look to you, it’s always a lovely reminder to hold my space.