“We are travelers on a cosmic journey,stardust,swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Clearly, I haven't lost my enraptured sense of romanticism.
However, there’s a pretty significant difference between the romantically inclined boy I was when I entered college and the romantically inclined man that I am now, which is reflected in my transition from alluding to Don Quixote in this portfolio’s opening to The Alchemist at its conclusion.
Both books are concerned with destiny, but where Don Quixote is a satire, riddled with cynicism, bitter humor, and an ultimately pessimistic world view, The Alchemist is the most sincere expression of pure hope and optimism and love for life that I have ever read, and it is now my favorite book of all time.
I think the fact that I discovered it in the last weeks of my college career, that it struck me so profoundly because it captured everything I have learned about life and myself in the past four years, and that even on a physical level the book being so slender compared to the bloated Don Quixote (mirroring my own physical change), has convinced me of a concept presented in The Alchemist, the Arabic word "maktub" which means "it is written".
I don’t know for sure where destiny will carry me in the next four years. Hopefully medical school. When I emerge a doctor - wiser and certainly balder - I’m sure I’ll look back at myself now and shake my head. But as far as stories go, I think my undergraduate experience at the University of Washington has made for a good one, and all that’s left to be written in this portfolio is "Thank you for reading and..."