1 comments Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I absolutely deplore and despise the song of the same name by Bone Thugs and Harmony, but I can't help but feel like I'm edging ever closer to the crossroads of my life. Up until two years ago, college was, in so many ways, the extension of high school. When I first attended college, I felt like I had entered the after-party of high school. Many of my friends from high school continued onto college at the same university I did, or they went elsewhere and we kept in touch via the Internet. Regardless, college felt oddly familiar yet ambiguously distant, kind of like meeting up with an ex-girlfriend in a bar. College, I was told, was the start of everything that lay before me. I was also told that college would be full of good times, bad times, and growth.1 Indeed, college has been that and more...

[My second semester in college,] I joined the debate team. I had debated in high school, so I felt adequately prepared to take on the task at college. What I didn’t understand, however, was how different speech and debate were in college. Where a simple informative speech took no time to write and was easily memorized in high school, the same event in college required double the work. However, I didn’t realize that until after my second college tournament.

Our team traveled to Washington to attend a tournament. Being a novice to the team, I had to undergo the same process of adjustment and growth I had just gone through in the previous semester. I was new; therefore most people didn’t know me and didn’t warm up so easily. Additionally, I was awkward in the events that I competed. I still hadn’t grasped the concept of memorization, but I performed to the best of my ability. Even so, the judges were highly unforgiving. To them I was another competitor that had started at the beginning of the school year, therefore I should have been fully memorized and competition-ready.

After failing miserably at the tournament, I was feeling low. I had gone into the first tournament of the semester not knowing what to expect, but I had gone into this tournament with a desire to improve on my past mistakes. Apparently I hadn’t. When I didn’t place in anything, I felt like the whole team was looking down on me. While most of my teammates understood my frustration, some were not as sympathetic. To make matters worse, our coach held a team meeting at the end of the tournament in which he accused the three of us who didn’t place in an event of not trying or caring. Our coach even went so far as to say that the three of us didn’t belong on the team if we couldn’t improve quickly. I was completely taken aback by this. Unlike the other two people our coach had singled out, I had tried to improve from the last tournament. Moreover, it was only my second collegiate tournament.

When the meeting was over, I left the room hiding my true feelings regarding the accusation. Everyone at the meeting thought I had taken the words said on face value, but, for some reason, I internalized what our coach said. I took it way too personal, but, again, I was a freshman in the process of growing up.2 I returned to my shared hotel room and quietly began working on homework. Although I originally planned to go swimming with some of my teammates, I declined to attend for fear of being singled out as the “weak link” on the team.

As I sat in my room, sulking in my own self-pity, I heard a knock on the door. I initially hesitated to answer, wanting to avoid everyone on the team, but I opened the door to find Nate and Bree on the other side. They noticed that I hadn’t been myself since the meeting and inquired why. Again, I was hesitant to divulge my feelings, but they were perceptive and, eventually, got me to speak. I told them that I felt that I didn’t belong on the team and that I was probably going to quit. Both of them slightly chuckled and said, “Is that all it takes for you?” I was aware that they were trying to get me to stay, but I was resistant to their words. While I continued to push away, Nate continued to talk to me. He told me that debate, like everything else, took time to grasp in full. He described his own experiences that, in some ways, mirrored my own. Most importantly, he reiterated that I need not take our coach's words so serious nor as a challenge. Instead, Nate told me to take the accusation with a grain of salt and simply go beyond them. He said, “Don’t listen to what the coach says. Do debate because you want to and because you can do it well. If you keep focused on improving yourself, you will.” Bree confirmed Nate’s words and noted, “It’s only debate, not the end of your life!”3

I internalized their words and thanked them for their kindness. It was at that moment that I decided to actualize on everything they told me. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I would instead channel my frustrations into improving myself and constantly struggling to do better. As the semester progressed, I applied the lessons I had learned from Nate and Bree and saw increasing improvements in my attitude and performance at school. Over the summer, I dedicated myself to my speeches and focused on applying myself to my studies as much as possible. When I returned to school in the fall of sophomore year, renewed and refreshed, I was ready to show everyone how much I had improved. After the first tournament of the semester when I placed in informative speech, it was evident to everyone that I was a force to be reckoned with when committed and focused.

In many ways, I still apply the lessons I learned from that tournament to everything that I do today. Although it was a disheartening experience, I gained immensely from it. I learned a great deal about myself, about what I could take and about the beauty of struggle. In the end, thanks to Nate and Bree, it was the experience that defined and continues to inspire my sojourn through college. While it was initially negative, I’ve come to focus on the positive aspects of the failure. In doing so, I have been able to take the lessons that the event was designed to teach me and work with all the potential within me. As a result, I’ve progressed through my major in communication with pride and purpose. I never simply take a class to take it. I take a class to learn, to grow, and to improve. Sometimes the odds are against me, especially when I don’t know what to expect. Even so, every experience has been a lesson to be learned, and I know I’ve learned a lot in my four years at college. I’ve also learned that I want to continue with the struggle, I want to continue to learn and “go beyond.”4 I’m going to continue to graduate school and pursue my doctorate in communication.

As I look ahead, far from where I stand today, I anticipate a great deal of struggle. I’m not sure where I’ll be five years from now. Assuming that I follow my dream of becoming a professor, I’ll probably be graduating from a prestigious communication program with the hope of inculcating students in the realm of communication. I’m assuming that I’ll have my own place, probably a loft, where my floor will be my biggest shelf. I’ll have at least three bookcases by then, having saved every book since sophomore year. My furniture will probably originate from the local thrift store, Target, and/or Wal-Mart. I’ll be a graduate assistant, after all.

Personally, I don’t think too much will have changed, but since I’m constantly changing, I’m sure I’m overlooking something in the future that has yet to happen to me.5 I know that I’ll still be focused on improving myself, always looking for the light in the darkest time. I’ll have the positive enthusiasm invested in me since my undergraduate experience, but I’ll be on the verge of experiencing the daunting task of obtaining tenure and conducting research. A task, I’ve heard, not easily accomplished. Even so, I plan to continue pushing myself, striving to do better in all that I do because of everything that I’ll have learned up to that point in my life.

1: The late nights of studying, caffeine-induced insomnia, and drinking were, somehow, overlooked in the college brochure.
2: In other words, everything was to be taken literal.
3: Of course, on the team we reiterate a statement that contends otherwise: “How do we spell FUN? W-I-N.” We’re truly goal-oriented people.
4: I’m not a masochist, just an erudite student with ambition. I guess that could be the same thing, though.
5: Quite the conundrum, really.

0 comments Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Is it possible for yet another sequel? Dreamworks apparently thinks so. I checked the trailer and it seems humorous enough. I love Shrek, so I am hoping for the best.

0 comments Monday, January 22, 2007

I couldn't agree more, especially since I got my new MacBook Pro.

And hey, HappySlip is beautiful too! ;)


The first week of my last semester concluded with ease. I'm glad to report that this semester is promising, and not just because graduation is the light at the end of the tunnel. This semester is promising because I enjoy my courses and I'm looking forward to what's ahead.

In addition to the positive outlook I have regarding this semester, I recently got a potential job offer. Hopefully it works out. If it does, it's amazing what a good reference can do. It's even more intriguing if I get it because I barely even know the person that referred me. Maybe it is the initiative behind it all.

In the meantime, I am taking it one day at a time. I have a lot to take care of in a short period of time in the process of applying to grad school, but I'm not worried. I think I've planned everything out well, and I'm confident that things will work out for the best.

2 comments Thursday, January 18, 2007

It's official. I now own a Mac. I never thought I would buy one, but now that I'm starting to get the hang of it I'm wondering why I didn't buy one sooner.

I invested in a MacBook Pro because I needed something reliable and dependable to use as I transition into grad school. So far I'm totally impressed. It runs well and it is easy to use. Almost everything about it has been easy to pick up after a little playing around.

As an added bonus, everything looks cooler on a Mac. My website fsck'n rocks and I'm in awe of the graphics that this Mac can produce. It's awesome and that's all there is to it.

I can't wait to do even more with my Mac!!

1 comments Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I'm ready to return home for the last semester of my undergraduate experience. It is always hard to leave home, but it's even harder to leave this time around. There's no apprehension nor hesitation, though. Break was excellent. It was everything that I needed it to be. Being with my family and having time to relax allowed me to refocus and return prepared to take on the next five months.

Still, I'm sad to say goodbye. Germany and Europe are, in a funny way, home to me more than anywhere else in the world. Leaving them and potentially not returning anytime soon makes my heart sink. I've enjoyed my time, but I always wish I had more of it. At least my time was best spent with family.

Now it's off to Idaho and back to school. This semester is going to be eventful and I plan to relish and revel in every moment of it (even the bad). Here's to the beginning of the end and a positive outlook through and through.

1 comments Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I'm not sure if you're aware of the enormous issue at hand in our society today, mostly because our media fail to report stories regarding monumental changes to the telecommunication infrastructures (i.e. The Telecommunications Act of 1996). However, I urge you to invest some of your time in reading about the potential future of the Internet, the potential future of your voice and mine.

This is no joke. Congress is currently being lobbied by large communication conglomerates AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and BellSouth to allow for comprehensive telecommunication reform. They want to change the Internet as we know it, and they don't want you to be in on it. (In fact, they've been working on Congress and the FCC since 2002).

They want to turn the Internet into a "diversified" network. What they mean, simply, is that they want to tier the Internet and charge content providers for using "their pipes." If a content provider can't pay up, then their site will be cast to the side in the slow lane. Thus, network owners will become the ultimate decision makers for the content that is streamlined to you and the content that is not. It's contrary to how it operates right now where you, the consumer, decide what you want to see.

To add insult to injury, telephone and cable companies have set up special interest groups to confuse the populace on the issue. The groups espouse numerous claims. In particular they claim that:

  • Net Neutrality is bad for consumers.
  • Net Neutrality will cost consumers more.
  • Silicon valley tech companies are behind the problem.
  • Getting rid of Net Neutrality will increase innovation.
  • Getting rid of Net Neutrality will not degrade Internet content.

The list goes on, but the truth remains obscured behind their rhetoric. They want to confuse you. They want you to stay out of the action. They want you to let their money decide the fate of the Internet, of your voice and mine.

We cannot let them do this. We cannot let them take away our only true democratic medium in American society. We must not support comprehensive telecommunication legislation. We must fight this.

Don't believe the lies. Fight for the Internet. Fight to protect our networks from those who claim them as their own. Fight to allow the continuation of our most powerful medium to remain in our hands. Fight for choice. Fight for your voice.

For more information check out the following websites:

  • Google's Information Resource on Net Neutrality
  • Save The Internet, the leading grassroots organization urging for Net Neutrality
  • It's Our Net, a coalition of companies including Google, Amazon.com, Adobe, Yahoo!, and Skype.

0 comments Monday, January 08, 2007

While doing some light reading the other night, I stumbled on this website, DNA 11, that produces artwork out of your DNA and fingerprints. It's worth checking out.

2 comments Sunday, January 07, 2007

As break draws to a close, I'm getting things in order for my final semester. I've purchased my books. I've paid my fees. I've applied to a few graduate programs and I'll be applying to a couple more out of curiosity. I'm about to purchase a new laptop. I'm also looking into purchasing a sexy new suit to schmooze and seduce the ladies in.

Things are on the right track and I'm ready to rock this semester out.

I'm looking forward to almost everything this semester has to bring. It's not so much about the conclusion as it is the culmination leading to the closure. Between courses, tournaments, presentations and recreation, I'm excited about the possibilities this semester has in store.

Rain or shine, I'm ready. I've weathered some of the toughest storms. I've gotten sunburned. I've been down and out, but I'm not broken. I'm ready, and that's all that matters.

0 comments Thursday, January 04, 2007

My month long sabbatical is over. The lengthy hiatus from posting my thoughts and documenting potions of history in my life has ended. I'm back, and I'm feeling better for being away.

In one month's time I've been able to recuperate.1 I feel more rested and relaxed.2 I'm in a good place with the best of company; my family. And it is a new year; a time to start anew.

I have no resolutions; no limitations nor expectations. I'm keeping it simple.

Starting now I'm starting over.

1: Especially since I drank German beer almost every night!
2: And not because I had the aid of a herbal supplement!