This blog post was written by Jonathan Tari.
The deliberate creation of original and organic ideas has never been an easy task. Yet that is what we are here to do at Curb. We are given as many stimuli as possible, taken to some of the farthest, most secluded parts of the landscape, with no purpose at all—simply to get ideas. When no ideas come, we go somewhere else, talk to other people, converse among ourselves, do another brainstorming activity—anything for that spark, that itch, which we can turn into a project, an initiative, a cause.
That’s the premise. Welcome to Curb.
This very quickly becomes a study of oneself, an analysis of one’s own mind. In the struggle to come up with something new, I inevitably scour my brain, its deepest and darkest corners, searching for my vault of creativity, the itch of all itches, my inspiration. I discover everything but what I set out to find, spiraling in circles as my purpose becomes entangled with other fleeting thoughts and desires. But there is still progress.
What I have found is that my own inspiration comes from a much simpler, uncontrollable desire: to create.
The urge to build something out of nothing is my most basic drive in all that I do. My interests in tinkering and engineering in general can be easily explained—I’m building something. But even my seemingly sophisticated traits and interests, such as photography and filmmaking, can be boiled down to the simplest of all curiosities: how can I make something out of my own imagination, my own vision, my reality? I stage the scene, I snap the shot, and now it exists in a different medium, a different dimension.
I am filled with an even greater sense of accomplishment when such a creation is put into its fully tangible form—when a picture is printed, nice and large so that I can see it, when my movie is up on my computer screen, then I have really built something.
Back to Curb. How could I possibly utilize this innate desire to create in order to fulfill Curb’s mission statement of free-flowing creativity? It seems like a perfect match. But that same infantile impulse that powers my hands to build in the safety of my garage back home will not, and I mean NOT, be simply turned on and put to work. How dare Curb try to force me into submission! is what the colorful, creative part of my brain would say if it could. But this stubbornness will no doubt be overcome by the sheer excitement to utilize Curb’s resources and really build something wonderful (says the optimistic, conscious part of me).
The greatest adaptive struggle that I’ve encountered so far with Curb’s creative challenge is its altruism. There is a subtle difference in creating projects for the good of the community than in simply exploring my own curiosity and innovation. My ideas tend to be product-based—building a new microphone for filmmaking, a food truck for college students, a picture that I can hang on the wall. The leap from that to the altruistic, community-minded initiative is what keeps me from taking a spot on the next millennial train ride. Such a leap is what will take me from someone with a lot of ideas to someone who will make an impact.
In my last few months at Vanderbilt, here at Curb, I’ve been curious as to what Curb really does, what its purpose is, and why I was chosen to be a part of it. I now see that Curb is molding me, forcing me to utilize my full potential, and pushing me to change the world.