Let's Talk About Education

Life is a Bus Stop

August 26, 2022 - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Cristina Conforto

In my role as Director of Advancement & Admissions at EARJ, I get to meet lots of families from all over the world. I get to see people at all points of their journey in life. It makes me think of just how different we all are, and the different paths we take. It’s also an opportunity for me to look back and reflect on the different journeys I had in my own life.

I used to ride the city bus a lot when I was young. I would go around the whole city, in a time when uber was not an option and taxis were way too expensive. I enjoyed taking the bus because it meant independence for me. I would go anywhere I wanted to, and I was never shy to ask the driver or a passenger for information. I followed the “bus protocols” to always hold someone’s bag when I had a seat, or to offer my seat to someone older. Of course, I took the wrong bus many times and got late due to bus delays, but it was all part of my learning process to become an independent individual.

I enjoyed looking at the people who probably had a life completely different from mine: workers, students from other schools, parents… all in the same vehicle, but heading different paths. The funny thing was that no matter where each passenger was heading, they were usually the same people, at the same time, catching the same bus.

When life would change for some reason, I would change the bus and the bus stop, and would eventually have new companions in my journey, never seeing those “ex bus-peers” again. But when I eventually crossed paths with some of them on the street, we would look at each other and just smile silently, meaning “yes, we are on different rides now: I wish you the best of luck in your new journey and hope we take the same ride again someday”. There was always a silent but positive connection in that smile.

Fast forward to where I am now, at the start of a new school year at EARJ, welcoming over 150 new students to our Community across Barra and Gávea campuses, happily watching them all start their own new ride.

Looking into the life of an international community, the entire world is the bus stop: parents may bump into someone here in Rio who they first met in Singapore, London, or Luanda, ten, twenty, thirty years ago… And the same goes for the students: they may, in 20 years from now, find themselves in a meeting room somewhere with someone they met this week, at EARJ’s playground. I can’t help but find it fascinating.

So here’s a thing: don’t underestimate any connections you make in life, because your paths may eventually cross again someday. Beautiful lifelong friendships will be starting this week at EARJ, not only among students, but also among parents; just peer-to-peer relationships will start as well, and that’s ok too. Just make sure you are open to connect, smile, be kind, and most importantly, enjoy the ride!

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