For inspiration and support, I often look up to those I respect and know well.
I am fortunate enough to say my mother is among these influential women, but there are so many more.
The best part is I don’t have to share her with that many other people, she is a great resource for strength and encouragement in my life, and she is present. I am grateful and fortunuate.
We don’t have to worship those very successful and spotlighted women, not every day at least.
Common woman can be very influential.
Look around and notice them, they are everywhere.
They are the grease in the wheels of the world.
They are the ones who smile at the deli counter because they are exchanging words with another human.
They are polite, and respectful.
They offer insight from their own precious experiences, they will help you through your harder times.
They understand the world and seek to make it better. They are setting an example every day, every minute, and they know it.
Take a minute to yourself and reflect on your influences.
Who are the common people you look up to and respect?
When entering college (the first time) I was pretty vivacious.
The fire that ignited from my very wonderful high school years at http://www.jeffcoopen.org/ made life a very out of the ordinary experience for me.
By the way, view the about page if you think you understood educational goals before.
After seeing where my love of learning stemmed from, you might see the common struggle in what Open Schoolers refer to as “the real world”. Funny thing is we all had to go through this awkward early 20’s experience where we had to try to be part of the existing social paradigm, and as adults we grow to realize it’s not as important as we thought to be part of this different community. I am finding myself engage with other like-minded individuals, rather than trying to conform to who I thought the rest of the world wanted me to be. I think we are all better off by doing this, but it takes time and reflection.
Coming from modest means I wanted to get the biggest bang for my buck in college. I attempted grants and scholarships, but funny thing is we didn’t have grades in high school. No grades = No GPA… applications alone were enough work because of this. I tried to skirt classes by taking others, for example: I didn’t meet the math entrance requirements for College Algebra but didn’t want to waste a $emester on pre-algebra (my mom tutors math) so I took College Algebra based Physics. Not sure why I thought this was a good idea but I passed, even got an ‘A’ my second semester. So then I thought physics was fun and worked towards all the prerequisites to be a physics major. After failing my Calculus based physics course, miserably at that, I figured maybe it wasn’t in the cards. After all, I only kind of liked it and the career prospects were not really going to fulfill my life-long desire to understand the parts of the world I was truly curious about.
Philosophy spoke to me.
I would get up extra early to study philosophy. I was waiting at the door of the coffee shops until they would open so I could get a warm cup of joe and sit in with my next new assignment. Philosophy was always the first book I would pick up to study when I had the time. I would highlight the excerpts because I was unquestionably going to keep this textbook.
Philosophy is not a class, it is a discipline.
People always say to me, “oh, I loved that class.” I find this amusing because it is not just one class you had to take in college. It is the thinking that transformed and created every other discipline. It is what inspired psychology (philosophy of mind), science (hello Aristotle), political science (ever heard of Plato- “The Republic”, perhaps Macciavelli rings a little true in our given political climate), and all others.
Philosophy gives you the tools to critically analyze and truly understand.
We question everything in philosophy. Our biases become apparent through this experience. We can free ourselves from them, or we can back into a corner defending them. In philosophy, the process of setting up your problem to solve must be precise and accurate. There is no b.s. allowed, it is obviously baseless and intentionally confusing.
The stigma isn’t true.
Philosophy majors don’t just care about what the bark on the trees is made out of, please remind my spouse. We are concerned with the nature of this world, hint, hint. We are trying to figure it all out, and we demand rigor and deep analysis. Often we explore things we consider unknowable, yet further examination won’t hurt. We feel gratification when reading the works of a great thinker who came before us and there is an “aha!” moment, we connect with the message. We get it, because it makes sense. This isn’t to say we have to agree whole-heartedly with the view.
We have to defend our reasoning to seasoned professionals, every time.
People think it’s just a bunch of hippies sitting around with nothing better to do, wondering about the world. Not quite. This is a very intense discipline. You won’t succeed with mere fascination. There is application of self, and critical analysis of everything that comes into or out of your mind. Professors of philosophy got as far as they did because they are practiced, and you have to prove to them you understand and can expand. The nature of things examined in philosophy don’t already have a script, and if they do, you aren’t really doing philosophy. You write the new script by doing. Reading is reading, engaging as it is, it is reviewing and trying to comprehend past works.
Career training doesn’t matter to philosophy majors.
Ok, this might sound scary. We aren’t training for a specific career, but we are learning very important things that will carry us forward into the right career. You might work as an advocate, a speechwriter, a poet, or even the person who makes all the cool quotes for a tea company. We all (meaning everyone, not just philosophers) shape the world, and philosophers know it. People often giggle, and wonder why even bother. Philosophy will only make you a better person. The jobs/careers for philosophy majors are plentiful, you just have to know what you are good at.
Philosophers aim to make the world a better place.
This is why I chose philosophy.
What is your favorite college course, why?
Let diligence temper my ambition.
Let ambition fuel my success.
Let success be graceful and noble.
About 3 weeks from now is my 31st birthday. I wrote this note last year, to guide my way into this newfound adulthood of thirties.
Looking back on the year passed, and wondering where I grew, where I failed, and what can make the next year great.
I am glad I unleashed the beast in me and began to write. I must approach it will care, and thoughtfulness. I must be modest and accept defeat, but award my accomplishments. I must move forward and strive to improve in this endeavour (yes, I like the british ‘u’ in certain words…)
Should we all take this moment, our birthdays, and reflect on what we can do better for the world and ourselves? Can we afford the serious time and critically analyze our year prior, take note of the mistakes and learn from them? I think we can, I think we all can….
Next years poem is on the way, stay tuned!
Being a leader means you have to try first.
You can visualize what questions to address in order to be successful with your goal.
Where do leaders get this?
Some are driven by an internal fire to fulfill a quest, or a vision of a better future. That can be simple, as long as you know where you are going and your intentions are positive.
How do leaders do this?
Initiate conversation, open the airwaves with those around you. Most people will be surprised that if this is done cautiously and with respect for your surroundings, there are opportunities screaming your name around every corner. Create a vivid and in-touch community through your dealings.
And please, don’t just facebook status update all the crap you are selling. That is not engaging.
Offer to volunteer, it may or may not be needed. Yesterday my offer was taken! I am happy when my local library asked for my help (after I offered of course) with the work of organizing some of the functions I actively participate in. Instead of being a patron, now I am an involved community member. A program I support is enriched through the fruits of my labor, this is better than only voting to increase the tax funding… my time adds value too. I can also bring together a few others who regularly engage in the same functions to see if they want to partner the work, or brainstorm with me, or help in the process of creating the event. I have casually accepted a potential leadership role in my community because of initiation.
Leadership is not waiting for someone else to do it for you.
In August 2011, when the first round of national budget talks fell through, my facebook status originated from frustration with all of the rhetoric from media and lawmakers. It went something like this, “Why do news writers assume it is the governments job to create jobs? Are we not ambitious enough as individuals to find and create our own opportunities?”
As you can imagine, this garnered some back and forth, but my thought is still the same. Regardless of regulations, or other strategies politics has to manipulate society according to the benefit of one party or the other… we have a collective interest to do better for ourselves and the nation as a whole. So get out there and get your skills, and get to work making your work. Don’t sit behind a desk at home, filling out mindless applications for nowhere jobs, you can do so much better than that.
I am a leader and I am proud of my accomplishments.
So, here I am. Creating my own opportunities. It is not easy to make the first move, take the risk of putting yourself out there. If you do it, the right way for you, it will carry you forward. Not every attempt will be successful, learn from the experience and move forward.
What are you doing to initiate your opportunities??? Please share if you care….