'Who Are You Now? And Other Amazing Questions From Hardcore Rock

There’s a hardcore rock band that calls itself ‘Sleeping Sirens.’ Heard them once and am only now recovering from a trip to hell. And yet they sing a song with a powerful question: ‘Who Are You Now?’

If you’ve never asked yourself that question, you should. Only be prepared for different answers. Like the Hope Diamond is always the same jewel, it will always be understood differently when seen from different angles to the light.

You too have been very different You’s. As a child…a student…a lover…a parent…a worker. In the football stadium…at a party…in a speeding car….lying in a hospital bed…standing in line at a wake. Each You is the authentic You, yet existentially living a different facet of your Youdom.

The dawning of this fact is sometimes known as the Sophomore Syndrome. About that time when your college sociology and psychology professors challenge you to excavate the real You after all these pubescent years of simply getting up every morning and being the you you were yesterday morning.

It’s what men song-writers love to write about singing the mysteries of figuring out a woman. Although any woman will tell you she finds the same maddening multiplicities to the men in her life.

Last year more than 732,000 foreign students were enrolled in U.S. universities, a 32% jump since 2000. The number of Saudi Arabian students alone spiked from 1000 to 66,000. One wonders how many professors will be challenging them to grapple with this cosmic question. Just last night I spent a few hours in a wondrous little private college in the heart of Chicago’s suburbs where I watched students in classes, in book stalls, on the Quad, and yes binging. Time Magazine reports 1700 fatalities from college binge drinking last year.

Could it be this gnawing dawning new question in their young lives has something to do with this? The research shows it is “status” more than “insight” that is involved in binging. I suppose. But then this is a perplexing question, once raised hard to ignore. I know, because I’m still working at it,

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