Being able to obtain an education is one of the greatest gifts the world can offer and I’m grateful for all that I learned in my four years of college–both inside and outside the classroom. That said, I firmly believe that it is possible to learn just as much outside an academic setting, if not more. Going out into the world is a different type of learning than what is offered inside a university setting–rather than developing my critical thinking skills and pushing the boundaries of my mind as I did in college, I’ve learned a lot from personal experiences in the last year. Here I present some little nuggets of wisdom that I took away from my first year out of college. It’s only the beginning and I’m positive there is much more to come from my ventures in learning out in the quote-on-quote “real world.” So, without further ado:
Loneliness is sometimes self-inflicted. You and only you have the power to build relationships with the people around you. No one else will do that for you. If you’re nice to people and show an interest in them, they’ll probably like you. For most of my life, I’ve struggled with building meaningful relationships with people and had no idea what to do–turns out it’s way easier than I ever thought and I just over analyze the hell out of everything.
An unknown future is only terrifying if you allow it to be terrifying. Too many people are afraid to follow their dreams because they’re afraid of the unknown, but life is too short not to embrace the opportunities you want to embrace. In fact, if it scares you, you’re probably doing something right.
The Newbery Award is the highest honor given out for excellence in children’s literature. It is given out annually–The Newbery Medal is given as the highest award and the Newbery Honor is given to a few runner ups.
When I was younger, my dream was to one day become a Newbery Award winner.
As a child, I was a voracious writer. I had this huge ledger book filled with unfinished stories and I was always adding to it, always coming up with new ideas. When I was around seven or eight years old, I wrote a story that was deeply rooted in my love and appreciation for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series entitled, “Little House in the Hills” (you can really get a sense of how my creative juices were flowing there). When I was around thirteen and fourteen, I actually had the gumption to send my one completed manuscript to a local publisher in the Minneapolis area. The manuscript was kindly rejected with a note from the publisher stating that, while I had promise as a writer, “it just wasn’t what they were looking for.” It was, quite frankly, all for the best as the story itself was a bit on the shaky side. Well. A lot on the shaky side. Let’s just say that it’s safe to say that I’ve improved quite a lot as a writer since then…still, I can’t help but admire my younger self for her determination and drive.
Come high school, my desire to write quickly died away. I took one creative writing class in my freshman year of high school but after that, my dream to write–to become a Newbery Medalist–faded. I was heavily involved with the band program at my high school and was preoccupied with fitting into my friend group. I didn’t think I had time to write and, although I occasionally got out my journal to write lengthy entries about the goings on in my life, I no longer considered myself to be a writer. It wasn’t until my junior year of college that the writer within me reemerged. After breaking off from a serious and very detrimental long-term relationship, I was searching for a way to reclaim my life for myself. I had become so invested in my ex-boyfriend and the relationship that I had with him that I had really lost all sense of myself. Around the time of our break up, memories of the writer I used to be, the writer I dreamed to become, rekindled. I began to realize that writing was, indeed, a part of my identity–a part that I had the misfortune of rejecting for far too many years. With that in mind, I started to a blog–to force myself into the habit of doing one of the things I loved most again and often.
Still, though, throughout the rest of my college career and into my time in Thailand, I never once considered writing to be anything more than a hobby. A hobby that I happened to be really good at, but a hobby none-the-less. I strongly Continue reading “To Focus on Focus”