30 August 2010

"Directions" Pt. 2

Way back in the olden days, and I'm talking 2004 here, I graduated high school and was chosen to give one of three student speeches at commencement. No, I wasn't valedictorian or salutatorian; my speech was just a class representative student speech. I had to interview for it, give it in front of a panel of teachers and the principal, and make revisions before mine was chosen out of a pool of applicant candidates.

That year, I was the "vice-president" to my good friend Scott of the "Skyline High School Literary Arts Club," and we produced a student literary magazine filled with short stories, art, poetry, and such. I wrote a poem and the magazine's foreward, a piece I entitled "Directions." My speech was modeled directly after that foreward:
Life is like a cyclone - ideas, concepts, trials (and errors), and a whole lot of luck - thrown into a swirling vortex of people and places that are ever-changing. At times, it seems as though I get so turned around by the winds of change and the sands of time that I don't realize what direction I am traveling afterwards.

Ah, directions. Mind you, all of them are grand - North, South, East, and West; even combinations of the four. However, the best sort of places to go are those without names. Directions that are based on a value system of decisions that allow you to choose the sidewalk you get to walk on. Our teachers, our parents, our friends, and our other, higher powers all help to place us on the right path, keep us from hitting the cars should we fall off the curb, and keep our moral compasses handy....

For the class of 2004, many of us will be moving in vastly different directions - from college to the armed services to stright into the workforce. For virtually all of us, our parents will be gone, our friends spread North, South, East, and West, and our teachers (who knew us all by name) will be a lonely summer's time back in the opposite direction.

This... is dedicated to all those who have helped to guide us through more than seventeen years, twelve grades, heartbreaks, arguments, good times and bad, our strays from the moral path of life, and our towering achievements.
Today, I am take pride in a new direction I have chosen to pursue for my life. I sent off my application to graduate school at the University of Arizona's School of Information Resources and Library Science, where I intend (upon my admission) to pursue my Master's degree as an Information Professional for eventual work as a research analyst.

Lately I realized that my "moral compass" was spinning without finding true North, due to my lack of success in job-hunting, my guilt for being a burden to my parents, and my other indiscretions. I re-read this foreward and speech and realized I had been traveling in the wrong direction for my life. I was afraid of racking up more debt by going back to school, even though I knew I needed to in order to obtain my goals.

Thus, about a month ago I made a decision that I am not only excited about, but proud of, and I began to put together my grad school application: transcripts, financial aid documents, resume, residency forms, immunization records, letters of recommendation from my NAU RHD when I was an RA and from my teacher colleague at one of the schools I sub for, and most importantly my statement of introduction. (And I would be a huge jerk if I didn't mention that Scott, Ryan, and my parents helped me proof it and improve it immensely!)

That package of documents - the sum total of my life's work to this point - got sent off this morning and should make it to U of A by tomorrow noon (thanks to Express Mail!) just under the application deadline!

Two quotes I like on directions:
What comes first, the compass or the clock? Before one can truly manage time (the clock), it is important to know where you are going, what your priorities and goals are, in which direction you are headed (the compass). Where you are headed is more important than how fast you are going. Rather than always focusing on what's urgent, learn to focus on what is really important. - Anonymous
May we be fearless... from friends and enemies...from known and unknown ... from night and day...May all the directions be our allies. - Atharva Veda

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