Scott Schimmel (00:04.938)
Nobody wants to experience rejection. Nobody wants to share the future of their life, share their plans, their career plans, their college plans. Nobody wants to share those plans and have the people that matter to them, reject them, humiliate them, make fun of them, discourage them, misunderstand them. It's one of the worst things. We want to...
experience acceptance. We want the people in our lives, the people that we love, the people we value, to hear about our plans and celebrate it. So inasmuch as we're trying to figure out a career path that makes sense, a college path that makes sense, we're also trying to navigate what will I declare that will experience the least amount of friction, the most amount of understanding and support. That is
just as present in the decision-making process as we help young people, or if you're listening and you're a young person, an emerging adult, that is just as much a part of the conversation, but I think it happens, unfortunately, on a subconscious level. This episode is all about raising that up, like increasing the volume of the voices that we're listening to so that we can understand them and that we can know what to do about them. Let me tell you a personal story as we dig into this episode.
I wasn't raised in a religious family. And yet in college, I kind of bumped into a personal faith and was a part of a campus organization in college called InterVarsity. It's a national college ministry. I got heavily involved. And after college, and if you've heard me talk before, heard me on other episodes, you know that I went from accounting and business and finance, and you probably don't know though what I went into. For 10 years after college, I went into...
college ministry. I worked with students, mostly at this campus called the University of San Diego, which is my alma mater. And I worked with students in faith formation, teaching them how to understand and apply biblical principles to their lives. And amongst that was teaching leadership skills and how to lead small group discussions, how to do one on one mentoring, there's a lot of stuff involved in that. But at its core, I was a campus minister. I can't explain to you.
Scott Schimmel (02:22.562)
how much of a deviation that was from not only the plan that I was on, but also what was expected of me by my core people at the time, which was my family. I had my parents, one in particular that was concerned. And I think in, I might be too as a parent concerned that as I was pursuing a career, pursuing a job with this campus ministry, that perhaps I was being manipulated by a high pressure religious group. In other words, a cult.
She was worried that I might be going into something that I wasn't aware of, whether it was a pyramid scheme or this cultish high pressure religious group that was gonna take over my brain. In other words, I had a lot of friction pursuing what I was gonna pursue after college. Announcing my plans that not only was I gonna go into working in college ministry, I was also gonna have to fundraise for my salary and make far less, at least a half.
50% less than I would have made a job offer on the table. I was gonna take one that would make 50% less. That's not what parents wanna hear. Especially if it doesn't align to their perspective on the world. Anyways, long story short, I ended up working in that organization for 10 years of my life. 10 years working with college students in faith formation. And nine and a half years into it, I started to sense in myself,
that this new community that I had grown to love, grown to find acceptance in, I had learned the language of that new community, that new culture, I had risen in the ranks organizationally, I had learned how to express the values and the priorities and the principles of that community. I had found in many ways this family as an adult, as a young adult that replaced, and replaced but provided the familial
kind of sense of belonging that everybody needs. Every young person needs that as they emerge into adulthood. They need to find a new family, a new community, a new culture that will accept them and they can find a space in. So after nine or 10 years of doing that, I started to sense in myself a dissonance, like a friction in that own community. And I won't go into it. There's an article I have on the website that goes into more detail, but I started to sense an invitation, a calling, a desire to do something else.
Scott Schimmel (04:45.202)
outside of ministry. And as I started to share that I had I had good friends inside the community. I would call it confront me, confront me with about my priorities confront me and question what I was about to do. And what I was about to do wasn't getting go off and like, work for a hedge fund or something. It wasn't like so outside the boundaries of that culture. It was actually pretty adjacent. I thought it was actually an expression of it.
But it wasn't in the confines of a Christian religious tradition. And so I had friends challenge me, my priorities, my sense of calling, my sense of my own commitment to the God that I ascribe to. And it was very disorienting for almost a year, almost a year. I questioned myself. And underneath that, not only questioned myself was also a deeper fear that I was going to lose this family that I had grown into.
It goes back to what I said at the top of this episode, nobody wants to experience rejection. But at the same time, everybody wants to discover their authentic self. Everybody wants to live autonomously. They want to feel like they're in charge of their actions. They're ordaining their steps. Not someone else, not a culture. And that's how a culture works. Every single culture has boundaries, permission, what's permissible, what's acceptable, what's approved.
behavior, values, expressions, and what's not. And that's the point of this episode, to become conscious of it, of the culture that you're in, the people that you're gravitated towards, the people that you wanna belong to, what is acceptable to them as it relates to your life? I'm not talking about musical taste per se, fashion style.
what you like to do on the weekends, do you like to go to the beach or the mountains? It's not necessarily that, it's more around the, what's acceptable belief system, behaviors, pursuits. And now let me give you a few examples. And these are questions that I think you can use, I think every young adult should use these questions to understand and unpack how the culture is speaking to them, the last thing you want.
Scott Schimmel (07:00.99)
is to listen to them as you make decisions about who you are and who you're becoming. Don't listen to them. And there's other episodes that say, yeah, listen to them. Listen to the people that you trust to give you accurate feedback about who you are and who you're becoming. But don't listen to them because underneath that is your desire, great desire, appropriate desire for approval and acceptance. That can cloud and distort the other simultaneous path of not just belonging and acceptance.
but also autonomy and finding a way to be competent in this world. So here's a few questions that you can use to discern and try to figure out. You can even have conversations about these. I think that'd be fascinating. In your culture, in your community, is it cooler? Is it acceptable? What's better to be someone that works hard, just goes after it, crushes it, is always working hard, or to not care about things?
to not work hard. I think about that in pockets on a high school campus where one group of friends, to be cool, to be acceptable, well, cool is the right word, to be good in this community, it means you stayed up late working hard on this paper or studying for this test. That's what's acceptable. That's what's good. On the other hand, if you were to confess that to friends, another group, you might say, hey, I was up to...
12.30 last night studying and they'd be like, what are you talking about? Are you serious? What, you know, what a nerd or what's wrong with you? That's an example of permissible behavior. Now you might've found yourself in one of those two, let's call them camps and find that the group of people that you're a part of actually expresses, it mirrors back who you are in your best and highest self, that you're leaning into someone who has a more laid back personality.
And so to find other people that would say, yeah, don't take life so seriously. It doesn't matter, what matters is other things. But not like stressing out over stuff and test scores that don't matter. Like if that's your thing, your people, good on you. Or maybe you're around a group of people and you're like, no, who I really am at my core, I love just to grind. I love to work hard. I love to figure out what's expected of me and pursue it to get better and better and better. I wanna grow, I wanna be challenged.
Scott Schimmel (09:27.466)
And so you're around other people who are like you too. That's awesome. But if you find yourself in a mismatch, it's awful. And you almost don't wanna confess or get caught. And that's when you know you've got some work to do. You got some work to do both in your own understanding of yourself and exploration, but also maybe in navigating through the community that you're a part of. Another question. Is it cool in your community to like live adventurously?
and always be like, what else could we do? What if, what if we did this? What if we did that? Or is it more like, oh good, I have nothing on the calendar this weekend. I'm just gonna veg. But predictability, security, stability, that's the name of the game. Which side is your group on? Your community, your friends, your friend group, your family. There's other questions that we have in this article. The link will be in there. It's on our blog, theuschool.com.
I think it's important to understand the boundaries of acceptability, the permissions of your community, the culture, so you don't unconsciously go with the flow because you're seeking approval and belonging and thereby negate your true authentic voice, living autonomously. It's important to understand the unconscious, unspoken, or maybe spoken values of your community so that you can better understand your own values.
and be able to mirror and match against. And maybe it means finding a new group of friends. Maybe it means learning how to declare yourself in a more effective way. That's what I had to learn. How to more talk about, better talk about what motivates you, what your priorities are, where you're headed in life, in such a way that people can be like, oh, okay, well, that doesn't match with me, but I get it. Yeah, that's cool. Love to hear about what you think about this as an idea.
Also, if you're not aware, if you listen to this audio, you can also watch these as episodes on YouTube. You can even subscribe to our YouTube channel. This year in 2024, there's gonna be a bunch more content. We're getting much more focused on a specific person, a profile of somebody that we're feeling drawn to support and help in this new year, over the next year, maybe the next 10 years, as we're kind of wrapping up. It's been 11 years since U School started.
Scott Schimmel (11:52.638)
And towards that end, if you know somebody, if you are somebody who's at the end of college or maybe already graduated college and is in this sort of like in between space, not sure or confident that what you studied and majored in is the path for you. Or maybe you've got a job and you feel kind of like underutilized or underemployed or like this isn't it. If you know somebody who is in that world, or maybe it's you, as you listen or watch, reach out.
Scott at theuschool.com. I would love to talk with you, get your insights, get your feedback, and maybe offer something to you that you can prototype and test. That's a little hints of where we're going, what we see as most important to us, and our expression of who the U School is and who we're becoming. So thanks for joining. Be back next week with another episode of the U School podcast.