Thursday, September 3, 2009

What frightens me...

Over the past several days I've been thinking more about fears.

I've been pondering my own life and what frightens me.

It may sound like a strange topic to focus on, but do any of us really know what makes us fearful?

There are those superficial fears -- things that make our skin crawl and situations that make us cringe. But what about deeper fears? Insecurities?

The past several days have been full of examples of what I think I've pinpointed as my greatest fear: mediocrity.

Being a college student is one of the most uncertain times in a person's life. The only "constant" is this journey with pit stops for classroom lectures, exams, papers, deadlines, parties, bad dates and one-night stands.

The thought is frightening, but I have no idea what next year will bring.

I spend an excessive amount of time preparing for, attending and doing projects for class. That's my focus for the present and near future; I don't have enough energy to focus on anything else.

Yet, there seems to be this uninformed consensus that journalism is one of the easiest majors to tackle.

This is a relative assumption.

I believe that any major can be easy to accomplish.

A person can coast through college with D's and C's and probably still obtain a degree. As long as they pass the curriculum, they get shuffled through the system and are allowed to walk.

And after they obtain that degree, what is the next step in their life? Career? Marriage? Grad school?

The name of the game is fulfillment -- none of us would be in college if that weren't true. To some people that means making gobs of money. To others that could mean job security, job satisfaction, getting married or raising a family.

When people ask me what I want to do for a living, I'm not really sure how to respond.

When I was a child, I started off wanting to be a doctor, then a lawyer, then a teacher, then an accountant and now a journalist.

But I'm not entirely sure if I want to be a journalist now. I feel like I want to enter teaching at the collegiate level.

And this is the new goal for myself. I want to fast track myself to a Ph.D. -- if you want to call eight to 10 years "fast track."

I've never taken the easy route for anything. I think it's my nature to "go against the grain" if you will.

I'm a high-school drop out who carved out his own path to college. (A lot of people still can't believe this.)

Even throughout college, I've always tried to challenge myself and learn new skills, taking classes because I want to learn, not because I thought it was an easy "A."

People would often ask me, "Are you taking Russian for your language requirement?"

And I'd say, "No -- just for fun!" I took the class because I wanted to get better at Russian, and I did think the class was fun.

Yesterday, I ran into my Introduction to News Writing professor, Margaret. She is one of the best people at this campus. I love her!

But anyway, I ran into her and she asked what I was taking this semester. When I told her "entomology" she said, "Why? Why not just take biology or earth science?"

I answered: "Bugs interest me...?"

The other day in my Database Management and Organization of Data class (Information Sciences and Technology is my minor) the professor actually put me on a 20-minute "time out" from answering questions because I was picking up the slack of the rest of the class during lecture.

She had asked some easy questions that were covered in the reading. After every question, I'd scan the room, looking for somebody who wanted to answer. Nobody would raise their hand and contribute. I took it upon myself to just spit out the answers.

I'm pretty impatient. Also, I was frustrated because I'm the only journalism major in the entire class. Every other student in there is either an IST, MIS, SRA or engineering major.

This really bothers me. I hate it when people don't contribute in class for several reasons.

  • It makes me look like "that kid." The kiss ass that answers every question. I mean, I'm aware that I'm a kiss ass, but I try to conceal that.
  • It slows down the pace of the class, which more often than not is already moving slowly.
  • It makes the rest of us look like we didn't do the work.
  • It's another affirmation that my generation is full of lazy, binge-drinking slobs.
Even if nobody knew the correct answer, they could guess! I don't care if they get the answer right or not, but as long as they try. I hate when people have this "defeatist" attitude.

But this brings me back to my original point.

I hate feeling invisible. I fear mediocrity. I want to make an impact and be at the top in whatever I do with my life. I'm aggressive when it comes to learning. I want to facilitate conversation and thought.

The journey is just beginning for me, but that's why I'm such a grade-grubbing, challenge-undertaking, ass-kissing son of a bitch.

The work I put in today will have huge payoffs for tomorrow. Even if I don't exactly know what tomorrow will bring. Life isn't difficult, but you definitely get out of it what you put into it.

Today on the bus, I overheard a conversation between this girl and guy.

The girl had said something to the effect of, "I could study my ass off and not have a life, but brains aren't everything, ya know?"

To which the guy replied, "Yeah, it's like, I'm in college. I want to have fun."

I just chuckled and sighed a bit when I heard this exchange.

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