Archive for December 2009

Obligatory End-Of-Year Post Version 2009

December 31, 2009

Well, that’s it for another year. First full year I’ve spent in college. And, not much has changed from high school. I’m still getting my butt kicked, not trying hard, and scolded for not trying hard. The format’s just different. Instead of every six months or so, it’s now every 13 weeks. Not a big change.

I pretend that the reason for my misgivings and shortcomings is that I want to pursue art. That seemed to be the culminating message that 2009 has been trying to tell me: Follow your dreams. To regret doing is better than to regret not doing. And despite all of the very in-your-face messages and signs, I’m going to disregard it all. Dreams are for dreaming. At least, that’s what I’m going to have to go with for now.

Second year in a row makes it tradition right? Here are this year’s New Year Thank Yous:

Thank you to the following people for making 2009 what it was, for better or worse: Lauren for making this summer one to remember. Ishaan for being you and always being up for a good time. Chris for helping me academically. Thomas for being the big brother I kinda wish I really had. Gordon for introducing me to photography and putting up with my short-sightedness. Michelle for being someone I can reminisce with. Steph for being fun to be with. The Whitlatch Twins for reminding me what having fun with the boys is. Andrew for keeping every moment spent in his company anything but boring. Dad for teaching me there’s more to life than being young.

This year’s list feels short, and that’s a shame. And unlike last year, I’m going to make a goal. A year long goal that I really do hope comes true. Don’t give people the chance to give you shit. Not even your parents. My first step is to know I can succeed. Doing what I want to do is the next.

I sincerely hope all of you had a wonderful, or at least memorable 2009s and that 2010 gives you more happiness than you thought possible.

No Excuses

December 6, 2009

If I’ve had to choose a creed or motto I’ve lived by, it’s “There are no such things as excuses. Only reasons.” It’s something that my dad taught me when I was younger. I used to be a pretty good fibber. And I would fib all the time to my parents. In high school, my dad got fed up with it, tore me a new one, and told me to “stop making excuses”. And since then, that’s the one life lesson that I’ve held onto: That excuses are for the weak.

What’s the difference between an excuse and a reason, you may ask. In my mind, an excuse is an escape route. It’s something we offer to ourselves and to other people to make ourselves feel good and make our failure more palpable. It’s something that we use to hide our weaknesses and our shortcomings. The blame is safely shifted onto someone or something else. A reason is for realists. Reasons aren’t sugar coated like excuses are. Reasons tell you where you failed, what you didn’t think through, and why things didn’t come out expected. You are at fault for your own failure. Saying you couldn’t study because of the television isn’t an excuse for a bad grade, it’s the reason why you failed. You should have tried to make an effort to study, to move away from the TV, turn it off, something to make your time more useful. Circumstances out of your control aren’t exempt. You were late because the train broke down. That’s an excuse. You didn’t plan for the worst case scenario and you are late because of it. It’s your fault for not being prepared. Excuses are unforgivable. Reasons provide areas for improvement.

My dad taught me this lesson in my sophomore year of high school. Since then, in four years, I’ve made maybe 50 excuses. There has always been a reason as to why I failed. And most of the time, it was my fault. I didn’t study hard enough. I was overconfident. I didn’t think ahead. I didn’t account for certain variables. Just like now. I should be studying for my Organic Chemistry examination on Monday. I know I should, but I can’t put myself in the mindset to do it. Should I fail that test, it’ll be because I should’ve forced myself to study, not because I couldn’t. Or if we could, let’s look at the big picture. I’m doing terribly in my major. Not because my teachers are bad or the subject matter is uninteresting. It’s because I made the mistake of choosing a field of study haphazardly. I should’ve weighed my options, studied something I enjoy, waited before I dove headfirst into the sciences.

I know that this seems a little extreme. There are times when even if you account for everything, you won’t get your desired outcome. But I can’t help but think in this mindset. If you fail, it’s your fault. End of discussion. If it’s true that old habits die hard, then old mindsets die harder. But, it is also true that knowing I failed and passively observing it does not help me. So  for now, I’m a proactive thinker with a sloth-like attitude, thinking critically of mistakes that shouldn’t be dwelled upon.

It seems I’m missing a unifying theme to relate this issue to myself. I should have thought this entry out more…