A Lesson in Looking


Sorry, I had to.

My best friend once said something that stuck with me (okay, he’s said many, but not that I can share on the internet).

“A pessimist looks down at his feet, trips, and falls. An optimist looks to the sky and looses his footing, and a realest looks straight ahead and keeps walking.” -Jared McNeely

I’m sure he got this from someone else so I apologize if the quote is yours, but regardless it’s something I consider often.

This past Tuesday, I started classes at The Ohio State University. Something glorified in my life from a young age. It has been something on my mind for a long time. I’ve said my farewells to those traveling away from home in search of their passions in education and was ready to make my daily trip from my home to Lima’s campus, back for work, and then to return home in the evenings.

It’s no secret I was quite comfortable in high school. I knew every teacher (and in some cases, most of their kids.) Classwork wasn’t always the easiest, but I managed to get by with some minor banking on some friends assistance. I was on a first name basis with part of the staff and missed class frequently to fix computers, solve minor issues, or set up sound equipment (Big thank you blog post to come.)

This summer was spent in the studio at WKTN, and in the barn prepping for my favorite week of the year, the Hardin County Fair. As August came and is now almost gone (Holy Crap!) The looming date of August 21st arrived and I saddled up the Tacoma and pointed West. I joined up with my friends Sara, Jacob, Maddie, Ty, Shelby, Brook, and Heather (hardly alone, I know) and went through the first day activities. I knew this was going to be an experience quite different than what my regular had been, but I was up to it.

August 22nd comes, and back to Lima for my most hated subject, Math. Two hours later, I walk out overwhelmed, confused, and asking myself if I can do this college thing. I’m not a quitter.

I walked Jacob and Sara to their cars as they were finished with classes for the day. We discussed how although the material wasn’t challenging (yet), the professor, though a nice woman, was challenging to understand with her thick accent. I was set for two more classes that day. I sat at lunch and I poured over my syllabus. I flipped through the chapters of my textbook and wondered how I was going to survive when I could hear Jared saying that aforementioned quote.

It occurred to me I was staring at my metaphorical feet, and I had tripped, and was laying on the ground in a heap. I closed the math book and thought to myself for awhile. I thought about Jared’s words and what they really meant. In the end, it became clear.

There will be days for us all where we don’t think we can push on. A hard nose wind is pushing us four steps back after we just took one. We’re going to get discouraged by work, a friendship, or something else out of our control. But at the end of the day, what matters is that we worked a little harder to make up for the lost progress, still have our eyes on the end goal, and that we looked straight ahead to keep walking.

Thank you Jared for your wise words that entered my life in the most random of times (naturally), and got me through so that I myself can keep walking.

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