Thursday, August 30, 2012
Friday, June 29, 2012
Just a little over three years ago, I found myself sitting in a college class room thinking how stupid it is to be wasting my time and money on a U.S. history class. All for what? Because it's mandatory that I meet a specific quantity of liberal art credits that will help enable me to earn my degree? The only thing I ever looked forward to that class, besides getting out, was a discussion my professor would have near the end of the quarter on WWII.
I always had an interest in learning about the war, especially D-Day, mostly because I became obsessed with playing games such as Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, and Wolfenstein Enemy Territory on my computer. Not to mention one of my favorite movies is Saving Private Ryan. When the day finally arrived to have the lecture discussion on the topic of WWII and the Cold War, I was more awake than I usually was for an 8AM class.
All this time I was so intent for class to begin so I could learn more about the brave acts of courage of these soldiers, these men of honor, these true heroes who stormed up these beachheads of France, yet, I was about to learn something that was just as equally as intriguing and powerful. Something I never gave much thought about even though the information wasn't new to me... the maginificent journey of putting humans on the surface of the moon. It was another breed of heroes that got my full undivided attention.
I can still vision the daydream I had in class that morning, picturing myself a top of a ballistic missile, being hurled through the black abyss, and looking out a window that would allow me to catch a glimpse of raw beauty...
By the time class was over with, my mind was filled with imagination, thoughts that I cannot possibly put it into perspective for anyone other than myself.
I don't really recall what happened next. Perhaps I watched the movie Apollo 13, October Sky, and When We Left Earth a half a dozen times... my web browser home page was set to NASA, my computer games went from being all WWII to all space simulators. And soon my college major would go from information technology to aerospace engineering.
I guess the best way to describe the transition is comparing it to the scene in Toy Story, the part where Buzz Lightyear becomes Andy's new favorite toy, completely reshaping Andy's bedroom to what was once personalized as the good ole days in the west to ultimate space ranger extraordinaire.
Basically the same thing happened to me except Andy's passion for the west would be substituted for my interests in professional bowling. Yeah... that's a whole other story, haha!
All I knew from this point forward was that I wanted to be apart of what happened some 40 years ago. I've always had it in my heart to be in the military, but have yet to decide whether its the best option for myself and my interests. But I do know being an astronaut fits to my personality; being an explorer and traversing the unknown, learning about our place within the universe, that's got my name written all over it!
But all this, from dreaming about space, to changing my major from information technology to aerospace engineering, and then back to information technology and adding on software engineering, to transferring out to Embry Riddle in Daytona Beach, Florida, and reverting back to home turf at RIT, to scoping out the Air Force ROTC program.
My convoluted mind hasn't had a chance to relax and reflect. These past few years have just been a blur, just like the structure of that paragraph above. Now that I am out of the academic world for a few months, co-oping at Hamilton Sundstrand in Nebraska, I actually have that chance to tell myself what exactly it is I have learned and how I reached this point...
And wow, I'll be damned, I actually have the courage and strength to finally say I am sure as hell proud of myself. I'm proud of my accomplishments thus far , proud of my family, proud of the support I have from all my friends, and most of all, proud to be living life. And you know what? I may never become an astronaut. I may never become that famous actor and celebrity that I always had visioned in the back of my mind since I was a kid. I may never climb the highest mountain, fly past the speed of sound, or be the next Einstein. But at the very least, I can have the pride and joy to say that I tried and will continue to try and be all that I can possibly be. And most of all, even if I don't succeed at everything I attempt to pursue, I will have absolutely no regrets.
Some would say to me, I told you, you couldn't do it. I knew the mathematics would give you a hard time. Others would chime in and say you can't always have what you want, you have too many interests. I have learned to combat those kind of remarks with a polite response... that's 110% pure 'A' grade bullshit. The ONLY person who can tell you, you can't do something is you! If you want something, go out and get it! Don't let anyone or anything tell you otherwise.
Hell, RIT told me I couldn't be in their graphic design major or their film and animation major because I had no artistic talent or portfolio. Well guess what???
I'm not showing this picture above to yield arrogance. I'm showing it because this is living proof of me purposely failing to listen to others who said I don't have the background and creativity to do it.
And I'm clueless as to where all this motivational talk and ranting is stemming from right now. Perhaps its just my inner child in me lashing out. Perhaps because I'm just a big believer that everyone has the opportunity to do something great. Or it may very well be the fact I just gave a pep talk to a good friend of mine. So here's to everyone else out there who needs a boost of encouragement.
Because what I have come to realize in just a short time period of my life is to not be afraid. That it's okay to not know the one exact thing you want to be in life. I know for sure that I don't. And why should we put a limit upon ourselves? Why should we decide to only pursue one interest when we have a viable option to pursue all our goals and dreams?
"You see, when I was a kid, they used to tell me that I could be anything I wanted to be. No matter what. And maybe I am insane, I don't know, but I still believe that."
So go fourth, be ambitious, be more, be GREAT.