Connection is a grey area. Humans are social creatures. We love being connected in some way, shape, or form.


Whether it being an organized community, such as a sport, or just enjoying the company of our favorite server at our habitual restaurant, it’s the little nuances of life that bring social fulfillment.


I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed getting people to rave about their inner most passions. Feeling the warmth of a conversation that emanates from a fire in their belly is such a joyous feeling. It’s almost comical in the way that an individual comes alive.


Seeing someone become animated with what they love has to be one of the most rewarding feelings of life.


Whether I’m studying abroad, or at home in the states, I’ve engaged in some of the most thought provoking conversations with random strangers. I’ve met lifelong companions that I hope to go into business with very soon.


At one of my local cafes, I’ve even brought a random stranger to tears that I invited over to my table.


I will always remember that day because I realized the tremendous significance of human connection and its importance on shaping people, and in turn, the environment around you.


This past weekend I went on a day trip to Orvieto with one of my dearest and newest friends, Rachel.


I remember the first day I saw her hitting the professor with an eloquent barrage of opinions. I thought to myself, “wow, that girl is such a prude, that’s the last person I’ll ever become close to.”


Boy… Was I wrong!


I quickly learned that she was one of the most genuine individuals I have ran into. One of the most argumentative individuals as well, but on an emphasis of empathy. She never deviates from anything short of respectful but isn’t scared to tell you, you are missing a crucial point of the perspective.


She’s a psychology major and one of the most intensely and intrinsically motivated ones at that.


Having a few hours to kill in Orvieto gave us a new friend (thank you Anthony at the Blue Bar for your hospitality!) and some time to discuss on her ambitions.


Since the third grade, she loved acting. She diligently submersed herself in the world of theater until she realized it wasn’t for her anymore.


“It was nonstop people trying to pretend to be other people and not really looking enough at themselves. I knew a lot of actors where it seemed to me that they were running away from themselves into other people you know? via acting.”


Rachel loves learning. She yearns for intellectual growth. The way she develops herself is looking inwards. So, when she saw the world of theater contrasting with what she was growing towards, she knew she was growing apart from it.


It was through this self-reflection that she realized why she fell in love with acting in the first place. Her development as an actress also allowed her to progress as an individual.


“That’s the way I learned how to act—through psychology. If you can empathize with a person, or an idea of a person, so completely, that you can embody them… that to me is acting. That is my personal take on acting… maybe somebody else agrees with that, but that’s just what I feel.”


From as early as third grade she learned what she loved doing. Through her natural affinity to be drawn to people, she was a natural for acting. And as she still does in our thought provoking debates, she spots missed perspectives in concepts.


She could have easily taken what methodologies were taught in her different theater classes as absolute, but she didn’t. Instead, Rachel questioned it and wanted to either innovate it or see what she could do to circumvent it.


It is through this passionate curiosity that has led her to have a passion for understanding cognitive and physiological human connection.


More importantly, what has given her such a sharp and keep sense of empathy.


“And fearing the honest truth that I know, and that a person knows, that is inside of themselves, is okay. The minute I could trust myself to be honest with myself… telling myself the things I didn’t want to hear… Knowing that bad times aren’t bad times… and knowing that it’s another opportunity to learn about yourself and other people around you”


She stresses the importance of trusting yourself at all times, regardless of emotional disparity or prosperity. The moment she knew she would be okay regardless of what life threw her way, was moment she grew exponentially as an individual.


It isn’t about theater. It isn’t about her field of study. It’s about her realizing that her potential for growth was unharnessed and just beyond the scope of her own horizon.


Trusting in herself led to her taking risks. One of the most influential risks she took mentally, was deciding that she wasn’t going to be afraid to challenge the conceptual ideas of the people around her, if it was going to help her advance as an individual.


Regardless if she had spent her whole life falling in love with it.


She has heart that is admirable and difficult to attain. It takes a level of incredible humility that forces us to face our biggest foe—ourselves.