This article is dedicated to Dr. Jane Norman, who inspired me to think positively! Your advices are peppered throughout my article because they ring true.
As I am writing this, It is surreal to believe that I, a Bison will begin my odyssey. Why is it so surreal? This was once a dream that was dreamt countless of times… Every day I dreamt of going to Gallaudet University since I was seven. I knew, deep inside that, I truly belonged at Gallaudet University. Why did I choose Gallaudet? I chose Gallaudet because my heart told me that Gallaudet is the right place to be.
The horizon is rapidly approaching; the sun is setting on my carefree youthful years where I made mistakes with the security of a safety net underneath me, waiting to catch me should I fall. The time when I embark on an odyssey is rapidly advancing upon me. Why did I choose to use the term Odyssey to describe my forthcoming experiences at Gallaudet University? I am sure that most of you, when you come across the term Odyssey, Homer comes to the mind. Of course, the term Odyssey is synonymous with Homer. Why would I compare my forthcoming experiences to something of great magnitude? Changes, Odysseys are usually journeys filled with metamorphic changes that define the trekkers that undergo the odyssey. Let us use the widely known example of metamorphic changes, the caterpillar and the butterfly. College freshman are caterpillars, when they start college, they prepare to crystallize in a cocoon, which is the college, and when they finally graduate, they break out of the cocoons and emerge as beautiful butterflies! Some trekkers embark on their odysseys either with confidence, and some people, like me, do have some concerns and worries as they embark on their odysseys, that is normal and of course, the concerns and worries that we bring with us as we embark on odysseys will be always resolved at some point down the path.
Filled with questions and worries as I prepare to embark on an odyssey that will forever alter my life. Should I major in Deaf Studies? What does Gallaudet have in store for me? As the storm of endless inquires rages on in my mind, I take out an “Umbrella” of confidence to shelter me from pelting questions. Before I walk on the famed Kendall Green, I will turn to face the southwest where my former alma mater, Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind in Staunton, Virginia lies among the eloquent royal blue mountains and bid it farewell and smile. Dr. Jane Norman equipped me with the “briefcase” of Life filled with the “positive ladder”. You might be pondering, “What is he talking about?” Dr. Jane Norman, Professor of Communication Studies here at Gallaudet University and a 1957 graduate of VSD, spoke at my commencement this past June. In her speech, she ‘gave” me and my fellow classmates the items named above. I will now explain the wonderful purpose of each of those “tools”.
First item is the “briefcase” of Life, Briefcases, often used to carry a wide array of items such as writing instruments such as fountain pens, pencils, and important documents that enables us to succeed in everyday tasks. However, the “briefcase” of Life, is an abstract briefcase that carries a wide array of items uncommonly carried in real briefcases, such as; Experience gained, Lessons learned, and challenges that we overcame. Inside the briefcase, is one tool, the “positive ladder”. The “positive ladder”, in my opinion, the most wonderful tool that humankind ever laid hands on, because ladders commonly used to help us humans reach heights that would be not possible because of the maximum heights of our jumps. The “positive ladder” has a similar role to its’ concrete counterparts, but one things sets it apart from the others. Most ladders have a limit as to how high it may reach, but the ladder I am talking about is infinite, it has no limits to how high it may extend. The ladders are made up of positives that occur around us and help us to climb to success. One thing “positive ladder” has in common with the concrete ladders used on daily basis in the real world, is that they help us reach the objects out of our reach. The “positive ladder” does almost the same but instead of reaching for everyday objects, they help us reach yet attained goals, dreams or successes. The basic anatomy of the ladder is that the rungs are negatives and the sides are the line that crosses the negatives to make them positives. A basic picture will help you get the gist of what I am talking about.
Do you see the “ladder”? If you still do not, draw on a paper the positives but this time, make sure the ends touch each other. See it? Great! Bear in mind, in order for us to climb the “positive ladder”, we must think positively in order to move up both on the ladder and in life. Remember if you just happen to think negatively, which happens to the best of us; think of two positive statements for each negative thought that floats through your head. That is the only way you can use the “positive ladder”!
My briefcase still has loads of space for me to put in experience and souvenirs from my odyssey at Gallaudet. I certainly hope by this time in three years, my briefcase will be nearly full due to the overwhelming experiences and lessons learned both the good and the bad. Fellow Bisons, especially those who are just embarking on their odysseys, I hope it will be an enriching experience for you.
With the “briefcase” clutched in my hand, prepared to begin my odyssey, I turn to face Gallaudet University and greet it with an open mind and heart. I sincerely hope that you; the readers will join me on this splendid odyssey. Until next time, open your eyes and heart as it guides you through your odyssey.
Tags: Michael Sprouse