Once upon a time I created a blog where I planned to write all of my reflections of my life in the world of college access. I did this for a while, well about 40 entries worth, writing about college access, my students, my life, my coworkers, my thoughts... and then spring came and I completely dropped the ball. This is not to say that I haven't been thinking about these issues, or even talking about them extensively with many of you, but I've forgotten how important it is for me to write them down. My recent experience with the GRE reminded me that I truly enjoy writing, so I hope that I can continue to do some this year, not in the form of letters of recommendation. Orientation for my term of service starts on Monday, and in the spirit of going "back to school," I decided to majorly clean and organize my room. Granted, it still needs a few hours of work, but in the process I came across some notes that I took during last year's mid-term retreat which centered on a documentary about the life of Hubert H. Humphrey. Here's what I wrote:
Through this term of service so far, I have realized how powerless individuals can be (perhaps not the point?). What is necessary is a whole group to really promote change. An individual can be the spark or that first push, but one person cannot change everything.
This makes me feel both more and less responsible- more to be a part of something great, but less pressure for me to make change on my own. I can inspire others, but I cannot do it alone, not should I be expected to.
I fear that I see myself less in the realm of public service in my future. I think that I see myself utilizing the best of my intellectuatl and personal strengths in a way that will not directly involve service. But, since service is a core value of mine, I think it will shine through in everything that I do.
What do I owe the world? Service? My strengths? What if they are not the same?
This passage is a bit of a ramble, but I think it was really fitting to find on the figurative (and almost literal) "eve" of the beginning of another term of service for the following reasons:
1. In the end of my babble, I write a bit about my future and what I will do with it. These thoughts were, I think, the starts of ideas that led me to taking the GRE this year and coming up with a tentative graduate school plan to head towards after this year. These days I'm finding myself believing more and more that what I am obligated to give this world is the very best of myself, which to me means that I will not necessarily find myself in the place that is most needy, but rather in the place where I can give the most and best of myself to really make change. More on this to come in future posts, I'm sure.
2. This realization about my individual power and its limitations is something very important for me to keep in mind as I start this year. I know that there will be times when I feel like everything is riding on me, and those are the times when I will need a reality check.
More posts to come sooner than later, but until then enjoy this nugget from Mr. H3 himself:
"This, then, is the test we must set for ourselves; not to march alone but to march in such a way that others will wish to join us."