When I was younger, I was always admonished: Don’t put your finger to the flame. Don’t burn in the fire.
When I was older, I learned that fire wasn’t just from the stove, candles, and logs— idealism, perfectionism, and fanatic passion too. I learned the hard way that my dreams’ lithium flames could scorch me instead.
Love something passionately and your heart balloons with hot air. Energetic, lighthearted, you float to the sky, stretch your fingers out to touch the stars, the incandescent flowers of a barren paradise. I want the stars.
No one told me to watch out for the inferno in my heart that ignites an insatiable hunger for power, knowledge, and perfection. Disquieting self-doubt billows as smoke.
The balloon rocks with turbulence. Flickering dangerously.
When things don’t go right, Watch out, curious scientist, Don’t burn in the fire.
—Nimran Shergill is a first-year in Timothy Dwight College.