Brian, I need a bigger ring!

Today, as I was walking out of History class, a poor kid asked, “so are you finished for the day?”  He had NO idea what he had just asked. In his defense, he had NO idea what kind of life I led.  Rather than demoralize him by giving my whole life’s story, I paused and took a deep breath, while also deliberately brushing my hair away from my face with my LEFT hand.  After the set-up, I finally responded by saying, “I’m finished here, but NOW is when my REAL life begins.”  He laughed nervously while trying to determine what this meant.  I told him to have a great day and then he watched me walk briskly to my awaiting minivan decorated with sports stickers and filled with a booster seat, soccer balls, and football gear….maybe he got it then….or if I’m really lucky maybe he thought I borrowed my mom’s car! 😉

"To be or not to be…"

This statement is repeated so often, I rarely stop to consider the actual meaning.  However, when taking the time to analyze this thought in terms of control, it becomes quite profound.  There are many things in life which control us.  For example, I have to attend 4 years of college to obtain a degree in order to become a teacher.  Someone, somewhere along the way made this requirement and if I would like to be a teacher, I must oblige.  This fact actually makes me quite angry, especially when I consider the quality of some of the teachers I was subjected to while in school.  I certainly understand it makes sense that those who educate must be educated; however, I often wish there were credits for “real life experience” or a test I could take to “test-out” of some of the nonsense.  Also, I get the whole “liberal arts” education and perhaps I would have benefitted from it more extensively at a younger age, but realistically based upon my life experience I have already learned many of these lessons outlined in some of these classes I am forced to take, and pay for by the way. 
Or, am I actually forced to take them?  In a sense I am, because I have aspirations to become a teacher and in order to achieve this goal, I must abide by the rules put in place.  I will never use much of the information I am learning in the math class I am obligated to take nor will I EVER in my life use Physics or Science, yet I have to take the classes to receive the credit in order to graduate.  I try to find some worthwhile information in these types of classes and if the information alone is not useable I am certainly gaining a life lesson in compliance.  
 I have chosen “to be” and on my way “to be” I have opted to take a path which requires me to be under the control of a program which will help me meet my goal of one day becoming a licensed teacher.  Yes, I think much of the path is full of nonsense and I could make better use of my time, but I oblige because I do not want to look back one day and regret choosing “not to be” for a mere matter of pride plus 4 years of my life.  It is a means to an end.

Thriving

“Colleges are a lot like old-age homes; except for the fact that more people die in colleges…”
                                                                                                                  Bob Dylan
I certainly understand the thought Bob Dylan is trying to convey with this statement.  He is proposing that while in college, students lose their spirit.  This can happen for many reasons. However, in spite of this, I believe Mr. Dylan intends for us to conclude that somewhere along the way a teacher has discouraged his students or caused them to give up, resulting in  the symbolic deaths of many.  He may be right.  However, I personally have not experienced this.  Perhaps I have been on the fortunate end of the spectrum.  Most of the professors I have had challenge me to be an individual and to think for myself.  Or maybe, it’s not about the teachers at all?!  Maybe, it is more about the outlook I have as a student.  Yes, I sit in math class and take notes for approximately an hour.  This is not my most favorite thing to do.  Nevertheless, while my hand aches from writing or I am worked up inside trying to remember the properties of graphing parallel lines I am not thinking, “This is a waste of time.  I am dying inside.”  Rather, I am determining:

1.      What parallels can I draw from the way I feel right now?
2.      How can I learn from this? 
3.      How can I benefit others from this experience?

No I am not dying.  I am learning.  I am experiencing new things.  I am preparing.  I am thriving.  I  AM ALIVE.