Words of Wisdom: Perseverance

quoteQuote for today: “Forget all the reasons why it won’t work and believe the one reason why it will.”  I saw this quote regarding perseverance and liked its simplicity as well as how it has applied to the things I have done against popular belief and how I continue to do those things.  It’s easy to let people tell you why you can’t succeed.  Sometimes they say this out of statistical evidence, personal opinion, or even jealousy towards your visions.  I’ve always been one who thrives from doing things I’m told can’t be done.  I find being told it can’t happen makes me absolutely determined to do it.  Maybe this is why my athlete director sat me down once and said, “Kid, I really like you.  You’ve got… spunk.  And a lot of it.”  It was that spunk that pulled me through creating a hockey club at my school so that I could finally play the sport I wanted to play for an official team.  We lost all but one game the first season, then went to the championship the next year for the state medal.  My perseverance and persistence to raise $3000 in two days and train enough players to make a team landed me with an enormous scholarship from Case Western Reserve University.

The same time of perseverance is what got me a summer traveling abroad this year, to pursue a double major that the faculty thought was impossible to achieve.  Against all odds, I have completed enough credits for a major in Environmental/Civil Engineering and French while also being an active member in a co-ed service fraternity, archery club, collegiate and extracurricular roller and ice hockey, NCAA XC, NCAA T&F, Premiere Scottish Highland Dance, and several instrument groups.  I’ve managed to travel to a couple dozen countries in the last year to compete in research and pursue my dream of traveling and understanding cultures.  I obtained three internships during the course of a year when I was told none exist.  This lead me to compete in research with AISES in Alaska, a trip which was completely free thanks to funding I managed to find last minute from my school and the ASCE group in Cleveland.  But determination doesn’t have to be so elaborate.  It’s also the reason why I eat healthy food and work out regularly .  It’s why I pushed myself to bike around the Finger Lakes in 2009, hike the Calanques of Cassis and Marseille on my own this summer, and finish a 130km journey by CityBike from Arles to Fontaine-de-Vaucluse and back (the latter two are described on my blog, kfdevault.wordpress.com).

Let’s not be mistaken; this isn’t an entry about the things I’ve managed to do.  This is an entry about the things I’ve tried to do against popular belief as an inspiration of why you can do any of the simplest – or most complex – things you wish to do without hesitation.  If you want it, just get it.  I’m a firm believer in “If there’s a will, there’s a way”.  Maybe I’ve just been lucky enough for my life to follow suit as such, or maybe there really was something in my perseverance that landed me with a great job after years of struggle against the current of likelihood.  All I can say is, whether it’s a new job, new hobby, or new diet, you just have to convince yourself it’s what you want and you’d be surprised how thrilling the journey to success will actually be.

Happy Monday!

 

The Sacred Coffee Pot

Every office has one (except, maybe, Twinings): the sacred coffee pot.  This communal appliance hosts the gathering of co-workers like herds to a waterhole.  Whether it’s an 8am wake up, a 3pm pick-up, or any point inbetween, it is the universal donor of lifeblood to nearly everyone in the office.  So why is it always empty when I fill up?

I have come to the conclusion that, as soon as I make a pot, some coffee predator lurking in the bushes pounces on it as soon as it’s done.  This animal takes an enormous share, then sets the distributor on its shelf where it is quickly devoured by less aggressive creatures who witnessed the predator make its first move.  Like a million annoying sparrows dipping into a birdbath, these animals draw coffee until they’ve sucked it dry.  It is this wasteland that I find myself upon when I return for my hard-earned cup.  I angrily begin a new pot and find myself thrown into this routine, vicious cycle.

What is so hard about making a pot of coffee?  As we would say at the dining hall in school, “You kill it, you fill it.”  The person who scooped the last of the mashed potatoes was required to take it back to the kitchen for more.  Often, this meant no one would take the last hit.  But, no, not in an office… in an office, it’s every man for himself.  To me, it just seems morally wrong to tap out a pot and not make more.  I replay the thought in my head and can’t understand who could bear doing it: You go for a cup, pump the top, get what you can before an embarrassingly loud sucking-drops-through-a-straw sound emanates through the breakroom.  Then, despite this sound (which clearly indicates empty unless you’re a dimwit), you boldly walk away, declaring to the world that either A) I don’t care that it’s empty and you can fill it yourself or B) I am a dimwit.

Tell me this, office people: What is the rush?  Do you not have thirty seconds to refill the grounds and click “brew”?  Do you need so desperately to hurry back into your cool little offices where you can check your e-mail for the hundredth time today and dillydally on some project?  I might not be on salary as a student intern, but I certainly have my work cut out for me.  In fact, the research I do keeps the work on your desk.  That might sound unimpressive, but without that work on your desk, you wouldn’t have a job.  So thanks for taking minutes out of my day to refill every pot of coffee you drain.  Thanks for lounging in your airconditioned offices while I sit under the blistering heat of the skylight in public space next to the noisy breakroom, listening to the sound of you tapping every last pot I make.

Okay, the skylight is actually quite nice and they’ve installed doors now so the breakroom isn’t so noisy.  But that’s not my point.  My point is, rather, that something so sacred should be treated better!  Use some consideration!  And, if you’re a dimwit,… get a less demanding job!