Life School Work

Find It, Work It, Love It…

“Be who you are, and say how you feel…  Because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

Yesterday, I happened to walk in as a Hallmark Original Movie was on TV.  It was called The Reading Room, starring James Earl Jones.  It was about a wealthy man who opens a store where kids can sit down and read (or learn to read in some cases) in an inner-city neighborhood filled with gangs and violence.  Through the course of the movie, William Campbell (played by James Earl Jones) wins over the hearts of the members of the community and makes the neighborhood a better place.

What does this have to do with working after college, you ask?  Well, to answer that question bluntly:  It has a LOT to do with working after college.

I had originally started college hoping to be a Special Education teacher.  After a year of soul-searching, I realized I had a different passion and ended up with a B.A. in Fine Art with a concentration in Film/Video and a minor in Communication Studies.  Needless to say, that was a very different ending to the original story.

I am currently working on an M.S. in Instructional Technology, hoping to be a Media Specialist, someday.  What do I want to do with it?  I want to do what William Campbell did in the movie and make other people’s worlds a better place to live in.

How I will do that is by using the skills I have learned and the expertise I have acquired through various experiences to work with others similar to myself, such as the learning impaired, the behaviorally challenged, etc. be all they can be.

What this all boils down to is having that passion, that drive to motivate you to do what you want to do in life.  My passions have evolved along the way.  Even if you have that passion, it always helps to know what you want to do with it.  For me, I didn’t see it until very recently.  …And that’s okay!  Better late than never.

I remember how hard going through school was in the beginning.  Through the years, school became an emotional roller-coaster.  There were ups and there were downs.  But if I hadn’t had that support from teachers, friends, and family, I would not be sitting here typing this blog post right now.

Some of you in college may not know who to turn to for help and resources.  When you are scared, life becomes scary and overwhelmingly more difficult.  My goal is to use what I know to make life less scary and easier for others who may not yet see their full, untapped potential.  I had that support safety net to guide me, and that’s what I want to do for you.

I have a philosophy that if you put more love in your heart and the world around you, there is less room for anger.  This results in a feeling of inner peace and self-confidence, and you find you will not be as spiteful toward other people.  Part of that is knowing what to care about, and when to let go.

I’ve found what I care about.  And there’s a lesson in that:  Whatever you do in life, make it something you want to do with all your heart.  You will have a stronger motivation to improve, to do a better job at what you do.

I have a little assignment for you this week:  Find one area in your life that could use some improvement and make a change that will benefit you and your world.

No matter what your circumstances are, I hope you find peace with yourself, within yourself.  I can’t wait to see how the world changes for the better because of the lives you’ve touched.


17th Grade

“Working hard to get my fill; everybody wants a thrill.  Paying anything to roll the dice just one more time.  Some will win, some will lose, and some were born to sing the blues.  Though the movie never ends, it just goes on, and on, and on, and on…” – Steve Perry (“Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey)

This past May, I graduated from Saint Joseph’s University with a 3.21 GPA (not bad for the little ball of rage that wasn’t even supposed to get to college in the first place).  Since then, I have started working toward my Master’s Degree (still through SJU).  I should be done by 2013.

When most people think of school, they think of Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st through 12th Grades.  Well, on that particular scale, I guess I’m in 17th Grade, now.  Perhaps, some of you are still in high school, maybe even starting college right about now.  The thought of spending your whole life in school can be a little lackluster at times.  Some of you may want to jump right into the work force after college, others may want to continue schooling.

During my undergraduate experience, I started working at the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support (I started around March, 2010, I believe).  Even as I enter my graduate studies, I am still working there in one form or another.  When I was asked to create a blog for college-bound clients, I thought it was an interesting way to show others like myself what “the real world” is like.

*Note:  “The real world” is exactly like…  What would that even make it, “the fake world?”  Let’s go with that:  “The real world” is exactly like “the fake world.”  The only difference is the role you play in it.*

Life is about whatever you make it about.  It is a story filled with Protagonists and Antagonists.  In my case, I guess it’s about a graduate student straddling a fine line between life at home with his parents (boomerang generation?) and a struggle for personal independence.  Independence is very scary at first, but with time, it becomes second nature.  When we were kids, independence meant taking our own baths and dressing ourselves.  Nowadays, the meaning has shifted to driving our own cars and living on our own.

Even when I finish with my Master’s Degree, I will still be learning something, whether it’s about myself or a new skill on the job.  Life means we never stop learning.  So, your homework this week is to keep your eyes, ears, minds, and hearts open to everything around you.  Sure, we can finish the chapter, but then we just have to start a new one.

Life doesn’t necessarily get “harder” as you grow older.  It just changes.  There are positives and negatives to getting older.  The negatives are more responsibility required on your part.  The good news is that with responsibility comes independence.

Keep dreaming toward what you want to be in your life, and may you find peace with yourself, within yourself.