Becoming an English Major.


When I was little, I had odd ideas about what I wanted to do in the future. The first career idea that I remember telling anyone was architect. Then, over time, that evolved into wanting to be an architect and an interior designer. I also wanted to be a teacher, so at some point it became an architect, interior designer, and English teacher.

That combination stuck for a while and I repeated the combination dutifully to adults time and time again. By the time I was in high school thought, the architect idea had faded away, interior design seemed like a dead-end, and being an English teacher was what everyone expected out of me.

I have this pet peeve about expectations: I just do not feel the need to fulfill them when they are so much dependent upon what others want rather than me. Plus, why put clout in expectations when you know best whether you are capable or not?

At some point, I became adamant that anything to do with English was not where my life was headed. Despite my A’s in AP English and various Journalism classes, and a general enjoyment of writing, I blatantly refused to acknowledge the idea of going the obvious route and completing an English degree after graduation.

I swear, everyone thought I was out of my mind. Apparently my teachers and parents had a pet peeve too–something about wasting talent, but I never saw what talent they were referring to so I cast them aside as not knowing me well enough. It makes my heart sing now to know that someone noticed something special about what I could do.

In the start of my first year of college, when I was stuck in a Baptist college that held a student mold that I just did not fit into, I decided that military service was going to be part of my future. I had always been so proud of my father for serving in the Army–I had thought over and over about the military for myself–but I thought my parents would hate me for the idea of it.

Obviously, I dismissed that worry because the idea stuck for a while. I started working out, memorized rank tables for every branch of service, considered the Naval Academy, talked to recruiters, and went completely insane over the idea of serving.

Sometime between then and now I decided that an engineering, business, technology, or science-related degree would look best to the U.S. Navy, so I changed my major three separate times to different degrees in that realm. If any of you know me at all, you can see why none of those was strong enough to stuck.

Sure, sometimes I wanted to make myself a good prospective Naval Officer, and I wanted to get the degree that my older brother never got, but, be real. As I am now, can anyone see me running logistics on a computer or conducting a business meeting?

Now, in what should be the spring of my sophomore year but is actually the spring of my senior year, I am an English major, and everyone keeps asking me how in the world I ventured so far from this major just to come right back.

To me, it is a complete surprise to be pursuing this degree now, yet it feels somehow right. I never saw myself being an English major, doing English major things, and being so close to graduation already. Really, I should have seen in coming though! I have two settings when I really like something: I obsess over it or I completely avoid it. This just happened to fall into the avoidance sector.

I have no idea what I will end up doing after university as far as a career but, if the journey to figuring that out is as twisted and winding as the path to truly being an English major, then I am sure it will end up being an odd and eventful sequel.

I guess what John Lennon said is right: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”


Determination & Motivation

Every year marks the beginning of thousands, and likely billions, of new years’ resolutions are made and committed to memory–at least, they are for the first few weeks of the year. Many resolutions will likely result in futile struggles towards nearly unattainable goals, and others will simply be forgotten before they are even begun.

“I want to be rich by the year’s end.” “I want to find love in the next twelve months.” “That lovely job will finally be mine this year.” Goals are an important part of every individuals’ system of self esteem and motivation, but at some point, we all have to be realistic about what we wish to achieve.

You may not be worth your weight in gold or at the same economic level as Bill Gates, but perhaps you could save, invest and be smart about your money this year, so that, at the conclusion, you have some money to show for your efforts.

You may not find your true love or experience that connection of a lifetime, but perhaps you could apply yourself more thoroughly in your social life, so that you form more meaningful relationships with people, and end the year on a better social foot.

You may not get that new job or finally be promoted to that prized position, but you could still work hard and make sure that the higher-ups at least notice your efforts. This is the reality of most new years’ resolutions: they are too broad and/or completely unobtainable, but there are revised goals that can be achieved.

This year of 2012, my primary goal revolves around fitness, strength, and nutrition; however, Rome wasn’t built in a day and I cannot expect a goal to be achieved, even if it is reasonable, without some effort. And so I am tackling each aspect of my resolution, beginning with fitness.

The fitness and strength portions of my goal comes at a relatively important time in my career and education plans. For the past few months, it has been my aim to join the United States Navy as a Naval Officer upon my graduation from college in two years, but the fact that that is two years away does not mean that I can put off preparing. In order to join any military force, you must be physically fit and strong in more than one way. So, since the don of the new year I have begun my own physical training.

As I mentioned before though, this beginning also comes at a perfect time in terms of my education because just this semester I am participating in a course entitled “Community & Personal Health.” From the course already, we’ve discussed personal fitness, community involvement, the different realms of health and wellness, and soon we’ll move on to even more convenient topics.

In regards to the nutrition portion of my resolution, that bit may be a bit more difficult for me to stick with. Determination, however, is a powerful thing, and I am quite the determined person. Will power shall carry me through, I am certain.

My plan is simple. Over the course of this 366 day year, I will commit myself daily to becoming a better physical specimen in nearly every way. Sure, I have more slight goals, and at the start I dreamed of bigger endeavors for this year, but this is my achievable goal that I crave to make reality. You see, resolutions are all about what is realistic and what is not. What is possible and what is not. And at the end of it all, you’re simply pushing your own boundaries, seeing how far that stretch out.

Each day, I will be exercising in manners that I have never stuck with before. During the middle years of my high school career, I devoted myself to running. During my junior year, I became a vegetarian. During my senior year, I wondered at what could happen if only you committed yourself to something long enough. Now I am making commitments and sticking to them.

Running, to begin with, is now my main hobby. Whenever I feel myself falling back on the typical teenage habits of social networks, Internet browsing, texting, or simple couch potato-type activities, I gather my wits about me and channel my energy into a run. Some days, I find myself capable of walking and running for miles without rest. Other days, my body aches from the days’ activities that have recently passed. Yet, nearly every day, I win the internal battle of coercion and find myself running yet again.

Along with running, strength and weight training will become part of my daily plan. Since I remain a military dependent, I have access to a gym, indoor pool and other fitness devices. I will be sure that the workers at each of those places will tire of me before I will tire of them.

Vegetarianism is a different matter. For nearly two years, I was a devoted vegetarian, even excluding eggs and fish from my diet. Sadly, I must admit that the teenager in me fell back far too often on pizza and cheese sandwiches for my nutrients. During that same time though, I discovered the power of other foods, primarily fruits, vegetables and grains. It’s a wonder how much you notice about yourself and the way foods effect you when you cut certain food groups out. While I will not be returning to my past vegetarian mentality, I will be incorporating healthier eating choices into my daily diet.

Perhaps it’s foolhardy to attempt so many changes over the course of a single year; however, the goal is not meant to be completed in the course of the year, but rather to learn the level of devotion necessary to bring myself to my best physical condition possible.

And so, this is the nature of my own year of devotion, as I prefer to call it. Good luck with your own!

Heroism: Needles, Thread and Guild–I Will Survive

Being a yearbook editor wasn’t supposed to take over my life.  It wasn’t supposed to consume my time and take me away from the activities and people I’ve grown to enjoy.  It wasn’t supposed to completely disrupt my class schedule—but, it did.  So, I am no longer in the AP Literature class, as I need to dedicate time to making the yearbook and ensuring that the staff doesn’t fall behind.  Writing is still my love though, and I must still write in my new English class…for these reasons, this blog will not cease to exist.  Thanks for understanding the chance, and please follow my blog if you’d like…below is an essay on heroism that I wrote recently. =]
“Oh while I live, to be the ruler of life, not a slave, to meet life as a powerful conqueror, and nothing exterior to me will ever take command of me” (Walt Whitman).  Dominated by word, line and story, beheld through the eyes of musical combinations and instrumentation, and characterized by an endless supply of emotion, life is a continuous battle to maintain control or regain it when lost.  Vivid dreams, technicolor rainbows, and brilliant splashes of color, the world veils itself, waiting to be undone in a different manner by each worldly individual.  Chilling yet intoxicating winter winds, stifling summer heat, and fall rain which beats unto structures as if a monsoon were possible in the midst of the suburbs; rich scents that numb the mind to all else, making reality nonexistent; high notes and low chords sung to detail the continuing float of the boat of life which has already set sail.  Control and the senses go hand in hand; though, how is one to take hold of the sensory reins and lead one’s own life?  With a magnificent and endless war waging between control, sight, hearing, feeling, touch and scent, the struggle to become one’s own hero can be found.   A modern day priestess of rhyme, a young apprentice of artistic design, and a secret knight striving to beat the foe that is hopelessness, confusion and the invisible enemy known as regret—life is a battle, and I choose to fight in every form I hold.      
Cowardly is the way of those who give up before a proper chance has been taken, who seek refuge in lies, and who hide behind fear in every part of their lives. English and writing has always seemed to come relatively easy to my fingertips, flowing like water and taking shape in the creases of papers without my knowledge.  Within lines of words, however, lies the opportunity for untruths, lies and dishonesty, whether planned or not.  In order to be a hero of one’s own life, it is absolutely necessary to hold to absolute honesty; absolute trust of one’s self and others.  Perhaps the world is harsh at times, and reality kills to the core, but there is no excuse for dishonesty with others and especially with one’s self.  Heroes are heroes because they possess a certain and unusual degree of selflessness; however, aside from that selflessness, a hero must be aware of their own needs, desires, and feelings, lest they risk falling victim to them rather than pursuing them individually.  I know that my love lies within these lines of word and phrase, combined and entwined to speak the world to the reader in the most unique of ways.  I know that my love lies in literature and the culture that is English art.  I know that my love lies…and I must be the one to write the truth from henceforth. 
Graphic illustration, web designer, computer programmer, studio artist, literary studies or creative writing teacher and numerous other titles have accompanied the recent hours I have spent dreaming of the future.  The future is indefinable, however, and even I, my own hero, must realize such truth.  The future is the world we strive toward, a blind goal and a desperate and unending struggle—in order to be a true hero, one must learn that though tomorrow is uncertain, it is necessary to reach for it and push for it until tomorrow becomes today, and today the past.  The choice of a future job path is a simple one compared to every moral and personal decision humans make everyday—to lie or tell truths, to live or die, and to kill or be killed in such a savage world as this.  Heroism is more than a journey to save someone or something, it is the pursuit of what is right, what is moral and what is best.  In high school and college, heroism can be shown in the simplest of ways…choosing not to drink and instead acting as a designated driver, working hard on a paper rather than cheating or stealing another’s, or even simply helping those in need rather than leaving them for worse conditions and situations.
Emotion is the very fuel of life; the lifeblood of existence and the breath of the lungs of the living.  In a world filled with uncontrollable hate, unknown sorrow, deep devastation, bouts of depression, bursts of happiness, and laughter that floats through the air on the wings of birds, self preservation is a must.  A true hero is able to control their own life, as well as aid others in gaining control of theirs. Emotions fluctuate at a moments’ notice and can consume the possessor; however, a true hero can control these emotions and overcome them by sheer force of will and faith in better days.  In Greek mythology and other tales of old, the knight, god, or goddess exemplified heroism…strong, understanding, caring, selfless, powerful and a natural leader; yet, as in most areas of life, one size does not fit all.  Heroism does not mean precisely these characteristics—it’s a certain sense of right and wrong, and a personal will that is strong enough to fight for the just and the deserved, regardless of emotions that play like tapes in the background, persuading lesser men and women to sway from the path of righteousness and truth.  The power of tears dripping silently onto a page, the screaming wrath that pleads for justice and the quiet hurt of self-loathing and depression…battles occur in and out of doors, and in and out of the mind—a true hero will always come out on top, whether physically or only in state of mind.  I will never allow reality to overcome my dreams.
“Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes heroes” (Benjamin Disraeli).  The planets rotate on their axis, suns moving ever-so-slowly in pursuit, shedding light into the darkest corners, and leaving others to wait in deep black lands…the world moves on, regardless of who claims the title of “hero.”  Defined not by words but by actions, heroism is realizing the craving in the heart for that which is right and going to every length to fight to achieve it.  Heroism is doing what is right…even when it hurts.  Heroism is learning to push the hurt aside.  Heroism is.