12 April 2009

Road Less Traveled

Sometimes it seems that we all follow the same path. In the case of a college student, the path is always the same: Study, get the best grades you can, graduate after four years, go to graduate school, study more, get better grades, graduate, get a job (start small), do your best, make more money, get a bigger job, make more money, retire, and have kids/get married along the way (hopefully the other way around). But that doesn’t seem exciting enough for me. I understand that’s the best way to get a good job and make enough money for your family and to retire on. I understand that there’s no easy way out of it. But I want to get some fun out of it! I don’t want to follow the same path everybody else does. I think that’s too boring. I want to have lots of great and unique experiences. Yeah, I want to finish my education and have a successful job, but I really hope it comes to me in a exceptional and unique way. I hope one day I have a chance to make a decision; a decision that will lead my life down a path of adventure and enjoyment. I hope I don’t follow the cliché paths people always follow; I want to make my own way. I want it to be full of experiences and memories that I can tell stories about to my grandkids about when I’m old. But even then when I’m old I don’t want to follow the same path that most old people take either. I don’t want to sit at home watching novellas; I want to be the grandpa that skydives and kite-surfs. I want to be the granddad that takes shots with his grandkids when they’re 16 and get them sick to teach them why you don’t abuse alcohol. I hope I take my own unique way through life. I want to take a more interesting way through it. It may be harder to find, but man will I have some interesting stories to tell between shots!

Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference – Robert Frost

Don't Leave Out the Details

Just in case you live in Tallahassee and haven’t noticed – It’s SPRING! Although the city of Tallahassee might be the last place you would expect to find beauty… April showers have brought, well, April flowers. Hopefully as you go about your day on campus you have seen the roses that have bloomed and the leaves back on the trees. Hopefully you have felt the warm breeze and smelled the scent of jasmines and lavender carried from near-by blossoms. If you haven’t then you are not paying very much attention to details. I’m not talking about stopping and smelling the roses, I am talking about seeing the details in life! As you walk around, enjoy all the things that surround you: the 100-year-old oaks, the hand-laid brick architecture, the services provided to you, and the people around you. All of these things surround us and we often take them for granted. So next time you walk past the fountains – stop and admire their elegance. Next time your advisor lays out your schedule for you – show them your appreciation. Next time you learn something that really interests you in class – tell the teacher “Thank you.” Take notice and appreciation of the world you live in… And don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.

What's your major?

Along with the new freedom you get in college comes a whole new bunch of people you get to meet… if you want. As my first year here now draws to a close at the end of my third semester, I have met my fair share of these new people. College, along with the education, brings lots of parties, clubs, drugs, beers, bottles, bars, people that are “friends”, as well as real friends. I find it so interesting but also kind of sad that there are so many people you meet, but forget. Like if meeting them in your life was completely pointless. My favorite question people ask is “What’s your major?” Yeah that is an okay conversation starter, but do you really care? Is what I say really going to make a difference or tell you who I am? I really don’t think I’m going to be friends with the person who asks me that question 6 beers in at Pots while Don’t Stop Believin’ is playing in the background. I enjoy meeting real and interesting people. I enjoy the clubs and bars, but only when I’m amongst good friends! People whom when I met asked “So what do you like to do?” “What kinds of things are you interested in?” These are the kinds of people in life that are good to have around, not the dude wearing sunglasses at Baja’s that’s trying to get you in his fraternity.

College Life

If I were to describe life in college to an individual just beginning this new way of life I would tell them its different…

College life is different from home. Not any worse or any better, they’re just two separate lifestyles. In college you wake up early, by yourself. Nobody cares if you make it or not to your 9:00am recitation, you gotta carry your own weight and get there on your own motivation. Then after class it’s all up to you again: Do you go home and nap? Or do you go study? These are all questions you have to ask yourself, you get what you want out of this place. If you want A’s and you want to eventually graduate then you have to stay motivated for that on your own will. Along with all the freedom that comes with living away from home in the real world comes independence. That usually sounds like a good thing, and it is, but it is not as simple as it sounds. You have to work hard and you yourself, do all the things that people did for you at home like get to classes, stay on time, prepare meals, and maintain the place you live. At home these responsibilities came mostly from your parents and you were constantly reminded of them. In high school it wasn’t easy to fail, teachers warn you of your grade, report cards and progress reports are sent to your parents so they know if you’re trying hard enough. In college you must keep track of your own grades and do what you need to do about them without somebody else reminding you about them.

If you can handle the weight of all these new responsibilities then the rewards are plentiful. The sense of freedom you have when you know you control your own destiny is very fulfilling. With this freedom you and only you controls where you are gonna go. No one here tells you what to do, so once you set your goals it’s all up to you to reach them. It’s your life and you can do whatever you set your mind to. Some people can’t handle these responsibilities and will always need someone to guide them and hold their hand. My roommate, although in college and older than I am, constantly needs mommy and daddy to do stuff for him, they call the school and fix things for him, he doesn’t go to class because he sleeps in or is tanning. People like that will always need the help of others in their life and will not amount to anything greater than that. But when you can take control of your own path and carry the weight yourself you will be able to achieve the goals you set for yourself and reach beyond your dreams.