I am convinced that a lot of life's victories and defeats are primarly mental.
I think success and failure are mind sets that, while they may not dictate
the events of life, certainly dictate how we react to those events. I guess
this isn't much of a revelation. This much was easy to figure out. How to
guarantee a positive reaction every time is an entirely different matter
Topping the list of concerns is school.
I'm enrolled in 19 hours this semester. If I pass these and another 19 in the spring semester, I'll have enough to graduate in May. The thing is, I've never had a semester where I haven't had a "padding" class or two. You know... Classes you enroll for but can drop if the grade isn't exactly what you'd like? I don't have that option this semester or next. That has me worried.
The other thing that's worrying me about school can be summed up in two words: "Broadcast Regulations." This class is a bitch. The material isn't hard... Or doesn't seem to be... But I'm certainly not learning what the professor wants me to learn. At the moment, I have a nice, fat "D" in that class. Because it's required for my major, a D is no good for me. If I were to finish with a D, I'd have to re-take the class next fall... And that would delay my graduation some seven months. As you can probably understand, this isn't really what I'd like to have happen.
My practicum is also a concern. I'm supposed to have spent 70 hours on the project by the end of the semester. I'm only half-way there and it's the middle of November almost. I still lack some key ingredients that I need before I can start editing my video package. I'm not so much worried about the finished project as I am about the evaluation my project advisor gives me at the end of the semester... and the paper I have to write summarizing the practicum... and the oral presentation I have to make telling a committee what I learned.
Speaking of writing papers and giving presentations... I've been getting a lot of praise lately that's bugging me a bit. Sure, I guess weird praise is better than none at all, but it has really made me reflect on myself a bit.
My major advisor told me that I should work on a second practicum next semester with a news director at a local radio station. He told me that when the news director heard about my background and experience, she'd "have an orgasm." I got a good laugh out of that... And I appreciate what I took to be a compliment. But I also couldn't help but wonder if I was indeed that experienced. And then I thought about the others in my major and it dawned on me that my advisor might have been right (about the experience... not the orgasm). This isn't to say I'm patting myself on the back. It is to say that it's dawned on me how small of a pond I'm swimming in.
Since my graduation from high school, I've been a pretty confident fellow. Well, I've been pretty confident on the outside. I guess I'm just now figuring out how deep that confidence runs. I really think I can hang with the big boys, but I wonder if I've been the big fish in a small pond too long to think about moving out to the seven seas.
My standards are certainly higher than most of those around me. I've been told that I expect too much of others in both my newspaper and firefighting jobs. I also know that I expect more out of myself than others do. Take my practicum for instance...
I received a less than stellar mid-term evaluation from my project advisor because I didn't have a script written on time. What he didn't see was me struggling with that puppy... Trying to make it damn good. I did get the script turned in a few days late but it was excellent... And according to him, it was better than others and better than expected. He had his sights set low for us and the others met his expectations. Most of them got decent evaluations. I exceeded what he was shooting for and received a poor evaluation. I understand that I was late turning it in. But the point I'm trying to highlight here is the difference between my standards and everyone else's... And how I've felt that lately, the praise I've received was appreciated, but maybe not truly deserved.
One other things that deserves mention in this entry is something I've discussed previously... the colliding of my two worlds. Only 90 miles separate Smallville and Oakdale, but they often feel worlds apart.
On a trivial note, I noticed during a trip home yesterday that Smallville time was three minutes faster than Oakdale time. On a serious note, life -- for me and for the people I know -- is very different in the two places. It's a difference that I get caught up in sometimes in a bad way. The two worlds tug at me... pulling me in different directions. I guess that's the price you pay when you try to have your cake and eat it, too.
I believe I've said enough.
Some of what I've written may be "defeatist talk," as I was told by a reader of mine who received a sneak preview of this entry's mood (if not it's content) earlier tonight. Maybe it is. Maybe I'm looking at the empty part of the glass instead of the full part. And, if so, I'm back to where I began...
This is a mental thing. I must be looking at it all wrong. I know I am. But it just doesn't feel that way. Everything feels bigger than it really is... and that's bugging the hell out of me.
copyright © 2001, Thomas Fletcher. all rights reserved.