This is the last week of the Spring 2011 semester at school. A year ago at this time I was scared out of my mind what graduate school would be like. Would I be able to do the work? Would I be able to keep up with my classmates? How would I handle the stress of working full-time and going to school two nights a week and doing school work? All of these thoughts were racing through my mind. A year later, it turns out I had nothing much to worry about. But, that’s the funny thing about a person’s mind. It can do all sorts of funny things. A mind can make someone believe he or she is invincible in the face of mortal danger or it make a mountain out of a mole hill. The smallest task seem insurmountable and the most difficult tasks are as easy as walking. That’s what the human mind can do. Our goal as human beings is to trick our mind into believing it can do anything. This past semester was an extremely difficult one for me. I saw the break-up of my 12 year relationship, work was difficult, and of course there were the ever constant money issues. Yet, despite all of those obstacles, I was able to complete the semester. Now, I am not one for tooting my own horn, but I should end this semester with around a 4.0 GPA.
There is something which troubles me. I know what I went through was tough. Yet, I wonder about the full-time parent who goes to school full-time and works full-time. How do they get through? Or the young man who has to work three jobs to support himself, yet still manages to go to college, achieves the 4.0 and ultimately makes his life better. How does he do it? Everyone is unique and brings with him or her their own idea of what is difficult and understand how much of a constitution he or she has. While I am pleasantly surprised by how successful I have become in school the challenge for me was less difficult than the single mother of two attempting to go to Nursing School and working full-time, to provide a better environment for her two kids. However, this was a challenge to me. Ultimately, what aided me was the sincere belief that I was and am doing something to make me a more well-rounded man. I also remember back to the darkest days of my life some 20 years ago and think that there were things a lot worse that could happen to me than just the end of my relationship. If I was able to make it through those dark days of my late teens, then I could survive anything.
With all of that being said, I still wonder what makes us strive to keep going? What makes the majority of us want to better ourselves? How does our mind overcome set backs, both mental and physical? Honestly, I do not have an answer for that. For me, it has to do with honoring those in my family who had sacrificed so much for me. By continuing on with school and with life, I am able to say thank you to the people who gave me life; not just my mother and father, but my grandparents and their parents before them. After all, it takes more than two people to make a life. Without our ancestors, none of us would be here today. So, in succeeding we pay homage to those who helped give us life and try, to some measure, make them proud of us. Ultimately, at the end of the day, we only have to answer to ourselves. “Have I lived a good life?” “Have I been a virtuous and kind man?” “Have I lived the life my parents envisioned and have I made them and my family proud?” Those are all questions that run through my mind. Though I only have to answer for myself, I still hear the voices in my head of generations past pushing harder. They are pushing me to become better than they were. They are pushing me to become someone who future generations can be proud of.
So, here I sit, on the last day of the second semester back at school. One year down and one more to go. I look at my grades, and I am proud of them. I look at all I have accomplished in this school year and I proud of that as well. I think of the friends and professors I have met and the choices I have made through this school year, and I am proud of those. Yes, I am even proud that I was able to walk away from my 12 year relationship with my head held high. I took the high road and did not stoop to the level of others. I have maintained my dignity and made it through. I know that I had some help. I know I have angels in heaven watching over me. I feel their presence when I am alone at night in my room. I feel them guiding me more so than I have ever felt them before. These past five months have been a truly educational and spiritual journey for me. I am a better man for having gone through and faced the issues I have. Most importantly, I have met some amazing people. I have learned who my true friends are and with their encouragement and my family’s I have made it. I am blessed. It is my hope that others can have an opportunity to feel what I am feeling. Is life perfect? Not at all. But at least it is life.