When I was roughly 10 years old, my grandmother somehow convinced me to collect stamps. Yes, I admit they have some value, can be exhibited proudly and may even fetch a small fortune if sold to the right collector. The reason, I now suspect, she wanted me to develop such a passion and hobby was so that I would clean and empty out her attic in search of these imprinted goodies. Their presumed value serving as a façade to my grandmother’s true aspirations: the chase did have an objective, just not my own.
Coming into my 4th year at this university, I can’t help but feel a certain impression of déjà vu: I am currently searching for stamps of approval from various organizations, collecting them avidly and then pasting them proudly on my LinkedIn and CV as if they were a statement of my competence and personality. Undoubtedly, some are and do reflect my interests, but the quest for some stamps feels as if a concealed carrot has been hung in front of me, daring me subconsciously to jump through some hidden hoops.
I now collect those stamps because I have been persuaded that they have value. The stamps themselves matter little, but the pursuit of them seems to be a mold, designed to transform people into cogs, soon to be parts of a large societal machine.
Far from the promise of liberation through education that was sought, we find ourselves channeled into the world, educated, skilled and industrious ready to fill some office we were designed to inherit. And so before I go back into the world in search of my next stamps, I put on this page a drop of ink or a splatter of pixels whilst around me the printers and simulations churn.