The CARP at Ohio State chapter has been preparing since the start of 2015 for their “What’s Your Number?” Event. As a “senior project” or collaboration between the two graduating chapter leaders, Vanessa Scott and Joshua Angelucci decided to leave college with more than just a degree. On Saturday, April 5, 2015 students, graduates, and young professionals in the Columbus area gathered at the Ohio State Union for the 1-day seminar. The program was designed to leave participants with a sense of clarity in their pursuit of passion, their individual value and self-worth, and the awareness of the impact they have on others.
The Value of Being Fully Present
The MC, a local life coach and part-time pastor, David Young, opened the program with insights on active listening. He implored the participants that to have a successful experience, it would require all to be fully present and not “check out” as is normal these days. By being fully present, he shared that the memory retention increases significantly from around 10% to up to 90%.
Alan Becker, a local International-Film Festival awardee, helped prepare a video collection of interviews of OSU students (watch here) answering questions like, “What’s your passion?”, “Who is someone that’s deeply influenced you?”, and “What makes you value yourself?” Beyond just the 1-day event, the organizers were able to reach a broader audience by engaging the student body in deep and insightful conversations that hopefully stirred a bit of reflection on their part.
What is Your Passion?
The first guest speaker in the program was an OSU professor and graduate student of dance, Quilan (pronounced Kee-lin) Arnold, who spoke on the topic of passion. He asked two main questions to get started: “What excites you?” and “What are you grounded in?” He clarified that passion, though exciting and inspiring, is also a temporary and fleeting emotion. However, Quilan emphasized that the fire can be fueled by discipline, especially when the inspiration fades or the mundane structure starts to feel boring. His own breakthroughs with discipline came to him through dance.
Growing up as a hip-hop dancer, his formal training offered repetitive ballet courses to help round his experiences. Although it was not as fun or exciting, the discipline of everyday technique was what gave him the freedom and power to better enjoy his craft. Sometimes it takes giving up what we want right now – like extra sleep, that extra snack, hanging out with our friends instead of studying, etc. – to achieve something truly extraordinary.
Quilan concluded his talk by challenging the participants to share their passions and disciplines with others. After all, everyone needs support and encouragement along the way to success. Talent and passion can only truly expressed when shared with others; the give and take action of beauty and joy gives life, purpose, and meaning to whatever we do.
Each of Us Has a Story to Share
The program remained engaging throughout the day via activities and discussions. Each participant had the chance to prepare and share a short personal talk among their small groups on the topic of passion. Some felt still unclear of what their passion was but still gleaned insights from the exercise including trusting one’s conscious, finding what brings them most joy, and removing pressures of other people’s intention for them so they can unleash the unique potential and possibility within.
Beyond our own story, each of us has a story to share intentionally for another. The next activity focused on writing a letter to someone expressing love and care, particularly addressing the impact and value the writer has received from the intended recipient. This was a chance to express gratitude, encouragement, and validation of the potential people notice in the loved ones around them.
In an interesting turn, the MC prompted participants to reflect on whether they would write a letter to themselves with such warmth, care, and heart. It is oftentimes easier to see the beauty in others without recognizing it in ourselves, too. The discussion that ensued gave insight to understanding one’s own value as clearly as we tend to see others’.
Where Your Value Comes From
The next speaker was none other than the organizer and visionary behind this event (click here to hear the meaning behind “What’s Your Number”). Vanessa Scott, a senior International Relations major and dance minor, was inspired to bring students together as a way to strengthen each person’s understanding about their value. Vanessa defined value as infinite, untouchable brilliance that cannot be tampered with. She said by virtue of having life inside of her, “I was created in love. And I AM love.” Through her own background and experience, she has come to understand her value as a person, daughter, sister, friend, etc. that goes far beyond what she has done or what she will do. Simply, her value comes from who she is.
Ending on a heart-felt and tearful note, she shared that her understanding of value was difficult to understand at times, especially when comparing herself to others growing up. However, looking out at the audience, she thanked them for coming and for taking the time to truly see themselves and others as unique manifestations of truth.
Who You Are Makes a Difference
By seeing ourselves as valuable, the impact each of us can make on those around us becomes infinite. Whether we decide to or not, who we are makes a difference – makes an impact – on others around us. Knowing that love is desperately needed in today’s world, by embodying love and infinite possibility, each of us can contribute our unique offering to society.
Nearing the conclusion of the program, people were in high spirits. Each person had the chance to declare themselves to the group – inspired with the Rocky theme song in the background – with who they are committed to being and what the next steps are in making a difference in their community.
What’s next for “What’s Your Number?” at OSU? They hope to continue engaging students in meaningful conversations and to create a legacy of impact beyond campus borders.
[More pictures and videos to come!]