Making Connections had a different purpose than a traditional course. The dropout rate for college freshmen is high. This class was designed to trim that rate by helping us "make connections" with our fellow freshmen. If we would talk openly and honestly about the challenges of college with a strong mediator, maybe we wouldn't fall by the wayside. As evidenced by the fact that this was at one of many attempts at college, the class didn't take root. It's too hard to get 18 and 19 year olds to be open and honest about their deepest insecurities. The idea, however, was right on target.
Life is about making connections. The purpose of life isn't to acquire as much material wealth as humanly possible. It's about people and building relationships and networks (and not necessarily the business kind, although there's nothing wrong with that). It's about bonding with fellow humans.
A recent article about the cause of addiction confirms what I've always believed. People are more important than things.
"Professor Peter Cohen argues that human beings have a deep need to bond and form connections. It's how we get our satisfaction. If we can't connect with each other, we will connect with anything we can find -- the whirr of a roulette wheel or the prick of a syringe. He says we should stop talking about 'addiction' altogether, and instead call it 'bonding.' A heroin addict has bonded with heroin because she couldn't bond as fully with anything else."
But it's much more satisfying to bond with our fellow humans than an addiction.
Life doesn't build a Making Connections class into our already busy schedule, but maybe it should. Maybe we need a mentor like Sister Antoinette or a room filled with our peers, or maybe we just need a little emotional honesty.
It's easy to fall by the wayside in life. To cut ourselves off after one more hurt or rejection or betrayal, but the addiction research shows us that the road to isolation is paved with unhealthy addictions. Plus it's lonely.
Making connections... Bonding.... It's not easy. But it's important. We're wired for it and it's better than any drug. Don't just take my word for it. Get out, make a call, reconnect. Build those human bonds and see for yourself.