Archive for March, 2009

Self Discovery and the College Student

Everyone goes through a bout of self discovery in their lives; an attempt to find their true selves, what they want to do and where they want to end up in their lives. One could argue that this stretch of self discovery, rather, the most influential stretch in an ongoing period of off again and on again awakening, occurs during one’s college years. Then what of those who do not end up going to college, whether delayed by necessity, circumstance or by personal choice? Well, of course they may be missing out on a great opportunity, but sometimes it’s just too much of a hardship to take the next step. On the other hand, delaying college can be a great catalyst for self discovery. Certainly this would not be true for all, but for me personally, I feel that this was a great way to go.

As the end of the high school career nears, a student’s primary focus in life shifts to independence and rebellion. Gail Sheehy mentions in her essay “The Predictable Crises of Adulthood,” that this is a defiant phase where one breaks off from the umbrella of family support and clings to even the slightest nuance to distance themselves from what was routine; jumping on fads and into cliques of like-minded individuals to further empower their revolt. Sheehy goes on to describe this stage of life to be potentially filled with identity crisis and irrational decision. A state of mind that I was in at the time, although perhaps it wasn’t as chaotic as described, but it’s something that I’m sure many eighteen to twenty-two year olds can also relate to. In reflecting on Sheehy’s words, I’m thinking to myself, is this really a good time to be setting off alone and deciding on an education that will supposedly guide a career and future endeavors? Finding one’s self, one’s passion, it would best be carried out with a fundamental desire to do so, rather than from a collection of irrational drives and intentions.

Indeed, it is still possible to vent off that sedition without stepping right into college. Perhaps at that age, as my own brand of rebellion, I had decided that I was going to skip college for a few years. Out of high school, I dove straight into the workforce. Working in a sales/marketing position, I was able to connect with many new and interesting people and glean a bit of insight into their ways of thinking. There was an air of maturity that developed as I experienced the real world, a sense of focus and responsibility. Not to say that I was really the unruly type in the first place, but as time passed on, I could see the change within myself, as could my coworkers, into a more rounded and willing character. I had grown up during this turbulent age, detached from the troubles that college life can pile up on a new student. This period was filled with experienced guides and consolers; from them, I was able to pick up a great work ethic and an ability to openly understand differing points of view.

Free of the inner turmoil of adolescence, now at the age of twenty-five, I feel better equipped to learn, to find a mentor in professionals and peers who may have similar, clear aspirations. Sheehy describes this time in our lives as the time for inward thinking and self discovery, another phase in life that I can completely relate to. It wasn’t too long ago that I had begun seriously thinking about the future, and where I wanted to be in the coming years. While I have been working in areas of computers and technology that greatly interest me, things have overall become stale and I’ve been looking for a way out. It was during this period of questioning myself, that I decided it was time to make the transition to college, to pursue various interests and open up some other doors in my career. So far I have not been disappointed. Attending college, even just the planning for college, has triggered some new ideas and caused me to rethink some of my career goals. From CIS to Japanese, economics, psychology and more, I feel that this experience has opened up, or at least presented me with a lot of new doors to look into.

To touch briefly on differing experience, in his essay “The Men We Carry in Our Minds,” Scott Russell Sanders discusses an eye opening episode that gives a hint that this discovery process can be adequately triggered by circumstance. Sanders, a boy from a modest life in the suburbs and military areas, recalls his familiarity with a certain class of man and their position in society. He contrasts his viewpoint on the factory workers and military men he had known growing up, with women he meets as he attends a prestigious college. These women viewed men, doctors, corporate big wigs and the like, in a completely different light, causing Sanders great curiosity and a longing to relate. On this point, I can see where migrating from a limited view on things and into a significantly diverse environment can be a jolt into the real world in its own right. In the end however, it seems as if Sanders’ experience only acknowledges the shared ignorance of the two parties, but doesn’t seem stimulate the topic to the surface. Though the means for Sanders to experience more facets of the real world outside of the college arena may not have been readily available, I can only think that if he had the chance, he would have had more time to look inward on himself rather than to be distracted, albeit slight, by the confusion and misunderstandings. That is a message that perhaps more people should look into, not only for self discovery, but also for a better ability to learn.

Report Card – Semester One

So far so good. Made the Dean’s list, which is kinda cool I guess.

Summer I 2008 (3)

A – MA 109 – Algebra

Summer II 2008 (3)

A – MA 123 – Calculus

Fall 2008 (19)

A – ENG 101 – Writing I
A – JPN 101 – Intro Japanese I
P – CIS 105 – Intro Computing
P – CIS 130 – Micro Applications
A – GEO 130 – Earth Science
A – STA 291 – Statistics

Five Years in Kentucky

Over the past year I’ve started to make some changes.

Firstly, with going back to school. I’m doing pretty well so far; 25 credits and all As. I may not be able to keep it up this semester, but I’m going to give it my best. Japanese class is going great and I’m really enjoying Psychology so far. Psychology is something I may be looking into a bit further, I’m not sure yet.

Next semester I’ll be dual enrolled at the University of Kentucky, on the road to my Bachelors of Arts in International Studies, with a major in Foreign Language and International Economics. Depending on how UK ramps up their Japanese Studies program some of that may change, In any case, I’m looking forward to it.

I’m tentatively planning a trip to Japan this summer. Might not see a Berryz concert, which is a big reason I would want to go, but a trip to get a bit used to things and overall cultural immersion might be enough for a first. If things go well, I may plan another trip in the fall.

Just recently left my job after going part time for about half of the year. Need a bit more flexibility and to focus more on school. I’ll be doing some freelance stuff, we’ll see how it all turns out, but I’m optimistic.

Looking forward to the future!