Connecting in a Vast World

In my last two posts, I have talked about some of my main passions– writing and anthropology. As I’ve continued my studies, I have often questioned why they matter to me so much. What do I wish to achieve by pursuing these topics? What do I hope for when I write? What do I hope for when I read? What influence do literature and anthropology have over my own desires, emotions, and dreams? 

I have found that it boils down to one thing: connection. This word has come up in my writing quite a bit… And for good reason. As a writer who desires to represent both myself and those who are like me, connection is vital. When I read, a thread is woven between myself and the author. I hope that when I write, I can create such a thread for those who pick up my books 

A variety of flowers from a trip to a botanical garden.

I have often been asked why I picked up anthropology and how it will benefit me as a fiction and poetry writer. While I don’t believe that you always have to tie together your interests (we are, afterall, multifaceted beings with limitless things to discover), I do have a response for these kinds of questions. A personal belief of mine is that in order to write good stories about people, we have to understand people. When we read books, we want to feel engrossed in what is happening. We want the characters to reach out to us from off the page. Even when characters aren’t humans, we still identify human traits in them. Therefore, I find it vital for writers to be able to understand what it means to exist as a human being. 

My anthropological studies have helped me not only learn about others, but have taught me how to learn about others. While this area of study is steeped in academic practices, it also teaches us to listen to one another. I have gained a lot from both articles I’ve read and conversations I’ve had with my peers. In a field that prioritises talking with others, I’ve been able to open up my understanding of the world by sharing stories with the people around me. While we all do this outside of the context of anthropology, I’ve found my listening to be heightened now because I’ve been taught how to take in real breathing stories.

Being able to converse, being able to listen, and being able to understand are all vital in the art of connecting. My philosophies boils down to this at its core: in my desire to connect, I also have a desire to learn. We should all open ourselves up to finding out more about one another. When we do, we can begin to understand how we all fit in as puzzle pieces on this vast planet. We may all be individuals, but we create and function within the world we live in. We affect the environment. We affect one another. We all fit together in one way or another; thus, it is important that we take time to acknowledge all bodies that exist. In doing so, we learn how we connect with everyone we come across in our lives. It doesn’t matter if it’s for years or for seconds– we have countless connections with others that influence the ways we choose to live.

By: Ehani Schneiderman

Ehani Schneiderman is a senior studying literature and anthropology at The New School. She hopes to connect with others through writing, poetry, and cultural exchange. When she isn’t nose deep in a book or word document, you can find her paddle boarding in a bay or scuba diving out at sea.

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