Tag Archives: future

Past the Headlights

You’re driving not by what you see
but what you imagine.

You’ll only know what’s up ahead
by leaving the rest behind.

You can see shadows in the dark
taking shape at the edge of the road.

It’s only guesswork now
past the headlights
until you see clearly
when daylight comes.

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Worth Waiting For

DSCF5929sThis little plot of soil has every type of wildflower you could think of growing on it. Except, there are no flowers yet. No blossoms. But green leaves and stems and vines are everywhere, sprouts and shoots that soak up the sun and look as if they could grow into towering giants.

DSCF4737sOne bud opened before the mower came. Small and red as rubies, the ragged petals unfurled, the light caught in its throat, and it sang to the sky. This first flower was also the last.

The Gardener mowed down the flower buds, the vines, every last little bit of life was cut down and died in the sun. Everything, gone. Then the surgery happened. The Gardener pulled out the tender living things by the roots, one by one, every last bit. The soil was raw and tender and exposed. There was no more promise of flowers in the sun, of vines curling around susan stems, of new life sprouting from deep dark earth. The future was empty.

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It wasn’t too bad until the hoe started coming down, chopping gaping wounds in the earth, removing every vestige of green that had once been so beautiful. When rain came it stung the soil, pounding hard where droplets had once fallen softly, their path slowed by tender leaves and letting the earth drink slow. Now the rain hurt. It carried away crumbs of black. The soil lay flattened, soggy, and hopeless.

It waited. Waited until the sun began to shine again. Waited to warm up. The Gardener took the hoe that had caused so much damage and fluffed up the dark loam. The soil was ready for something. Ready for anything. What was the world waiting for?

Specks dropping in the wind from a hand high above, landing in the bruised and beaten dirt. Seeds that immediately began to warm and send out fuzzy roots. Seeds without competition, that couldn’t grow in the shade of living things, that wouldn’t have lived among the roots of established life. The seeds sprouted. Grew green and tall and pulled the crumbs of soil together, healed the cracks, softened the rain, and then sprouted buds.

These buds weren’t like the wildflowers. This soil wasn’t like the wild loam. Unsatisfied, it was tender, still waiting for new beginnings until the first shafts of yellow peeked from leaf covers and reflected the sun in all her blazing glory. This is what we were waiting for.

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Choose Your Future – Now!

What would you say if someone asked you to choose what you want to do with the next phase of your life?

The question has been posed to me, in multiple forms, a lot recently. It’s pretty unnerving. The reason is that I’ve decided to graduate a year early from undergraduate college, and have suddenly put myself on the fast track to the future.

Where do you want to go? What do you want to do?”

Answering that question is key to finding appropriate graduate schools. It needs to be answered so I can form the right kind of future for myself—one I’ll enjoy and thrive in. What if I answer incorrectly? What if I just don’t know?

Thinking back to when I first entered college as a freshman, I had little idea what I wanted to do. I knew what I liked—writing and video—and went from there. I’ve learned about the intricacies of these two professional fields . . . but not enough to be able to see the future.

Perhaps I’d do well to remember that finding a good course or a school that fits is a lot like finding a friend or romantic partner. There’s more than one good fit available, and no place or person is perfect. Experimentation is key to finding out what you really like . . . so whatever career I settle on for the future, I better start today.

What do Grades Really Measure?

Everyone knows that getting high grades is getting good grades. A high grade is supposed to show that you really understand the material in an academic course. It’s supposed to reflect your intelligence, or your talent, or both.

These are not what grades really measure. Talent and intelligence and understanding all help in getting good grades, to be sure—but they’re not fully necessary.

Academic grades measure dedication. Without dedication—the will to go to class, stay on top of assignments, and struggle through the challenges—Einstein would fail at physics.

I’m finishing a tough course right now. Calculus II, and we’re doing infinite series, which are perplexing to me. I have little talent nor mathematical intelligence (I only imitate math, I don’t create), and I often feel like a Chinese Room when it comes to math problems. I would be doomed if grades didn’t reflect dedication.

I am dedicated. Up until recently, I wondered whether willpower could make up for lack of talent and interest. It can—to an extent. And I wondered whether I could succeed by willpower alone in a subject that doesn’t come naturally to me, or whether I’m bound by fate and genetics to do what I’m good at and interested in.

This weekend, I accidentally convinced myself that there’s no substitute for passion. I had two things on my mind: Tuesday’s math test, and a video for film history that was due a week later. What did I do? I spent 17 hours editing video, and 3 hours struggling with math.

The difference between these two activities was passion. When you’re passionate about something and actually want to do it, you end up giving it more of yourself—even your spare time. And putting in all those hours is what it takes to become a master. So I don’t think I could ever be that successful in a subject I’m not passionate about or talented in. The fire just isn’t there.

A lot of college and growing up seems to be about finding the place you fit in the world—that little niche where you’re talented, passionate, and better than most other people at doing what you do. A grade can help you find out what you’re good at. We’re all naturally dedicated to something or other, and when you find what you’re interested in, you tend to notice a change of focus—away from trying to motivate yourself just to do the homework, and more towards building a beautiful final product, be it a movie, a program, or a thoughtful new idea.