Aug 1, 2012/10:40 AM

Who are we? Generation Waking Up!

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A certain practiced apathy exists among those who choose to roam the political spectrum. It doesn’t pay to get overly attached to a certain idea or person when in another moment a gigantic media upset could destroy everything any man ever stood for and with that any chance of that individual taking his or her place in office. Take everything with a grain of salt is one of the first lessons I ever learned. Whether this was a flaw in the system or a cherry on the sundae; this lack of connection is what distances most politicians from the people. My name is Dhruv Gupta, future politician (hopefully), and I will not continue this vicious chain of practiced detachment. The primary cause of such a change in my thought process will definitely have to be from the GenUp Summer Leadership Academy training that took place on the beautiful remote Whidbey Island.

Name a prettier place... Go on... I dare you

Now before I tell you of the experience that has shaped my personality for decades to come I should let you know a little about myself. I’m currently a seventeen year old who will soon be a senior at the tiny private school of Quarry Lane in Dublin, California. Its a small school with not much in the way of people. This small school atmosphere provides me with a space that I can say, with all the authority that any seventeen year old teenager possesses, is my own.

I can name every graduate from this place in the last four years...

But I digress, I’m involved with several political campaigns that have and continue to shape my political ideology including the recent “Eric Swalwell for Congress” and what I generally see is a continued detachment from the politicians to the very people that they are supposed to be representing (Eric however is not one of these politicians so vote for him if you live in district 15 of California).  I agreed with this apathy as beneficiary until a certain point.

A waking point…

As a rising senior, I wished to intern at an organization outside the political field (Ya know so I’m not a one track minded kid) that still had an impact on my life. I ended up deciding to intern for Generation Waking Up, but before I could assist the Wake Ups I had to go through one. So, before I knew it my bags were packed and I was off to Seattle to be met with a shuttle and a massive ferry boat to take me to the beautiful Whidbey Island.

Still can't name a place huh?

Right away all my initial nervousness (I barely had any because I am just amazing like that, but still) was swept away. The people were forthcoming and honest; I finally had found another space outside my school  which was in many ways my own. Though in the beginning I was as cynical as any other teen would be, I found myself being swept away with the passion, compassion, and the general awareness. I met an individual who has been campaigning for awareness about Global Warming since he was thirteen years old and others who had more recently taken up the call to activism. So all in all I felt like I had done zero to impact the world. Regardless, the weekend was eye-opening to everyone present, it wasn’t concerned with what had been done but with what has to be done. It opened my eyes to who I am, and how a thriving, just, and sustainable planet is possible.

The first Sunday I arrived for the Generation Waking Up training broke me out of my dogmatic cynicism. The facilitators facilitated an exercise named “If you really knew me” and right away I was paired with a person I had neither met nor seen before the exercise. The exercise consisted of  us talking for two minutes simply about what we wished others realized about each of us that was not visible from the topsoil. We immediately plunged into some our deeper thoughts and emotions; sharing forthright and without any hesitation. It gave me more of a glimpse into what it means to be a human being, with the similarities, the differences, the pain, and of course the joy than all my years at school had ever managed to achieve. In those five minutes I had journeyed so far within myself that I then set such high expectations into what the rest of the week would entail. And the training did not disappoint! I shared the struggles of people who were so similar yet so different. I realized to be a true leader, to be an empathetic politcian I had not to follow examples such as Theodore Roosevelt who inspired as much fear as love, but I had to align myself in a more Ghandian route. All the people around me who I had connected with only furthered my aim to follow such an empathetic road. It was truly inspiring to be around such individuals who were not afraid to discuss generally taboo topics such as sexuality, race, and class conflict despite the wide array of individuals who came from all possible categories.

Have you ever seen a better picture?

This inspiring week not only taught me so much about myself and the world around me, but it also inspired me to take charge and lead a WakeUp at my school when it reopens this september. I have also begun to take a more active green role in the community around me, for example in a two weeks from now everyone living in Palamores Hills Lyndon Loop will receive special benefits from installing compost bins in their homes.
My political ideologies have once again shifted, but I am sure that from this point forward they shall always stay rooted in the community and empathy.

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