Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Lesson Learned: Spring Break Edition

I'll be the first to say that I love vacation time in college. It's a time where I get away from school work which makes me happy. It gets me out of small town Carbondale, which also generally makes me happy. I get to go home and enjoy meals that are cooked for me and that's always great. I can go on and on with the little things I love about breaks, but arguably the thing I look forward to the most is the time with my friends.

Which is why I was shocked to hear that my cousin was upset with me after I went back to school after Winter Break. He was upset with me because I stopped keeping contact with him after my return to Carbondale and that upset him because for New Year's he ditched going to the bars in favor of hanging out with me which is something he really didn't have to do but did anyway. In my defense I'll admit that when I go back to Carbondale I do sometimes pull a disappearing act and do not keep good contact with the Chi-town peeps and for that I suck.

But I was bothered that it upset him. It was more like I was upset that I did that to him because really I'm not in the business of losing friends because my friends are people who know me and are close to me and I appreciate everyone of them. I'll go on the record of saying losing friends sucks. Losing contact with friends sucks. I'll also go on the record of saying sometimes things change and people change. That also sucks.

That brings me to tonights blog---and the back story to my cousin's comments.

He says I've changed since I've gone to Carbondale. That I'm really not the same person I was in high school. That I've lost touch with my roots. Those three statements have had me thinking all throughout break.

I'll agree that I've changed since I've come to SIU. Some of it is good change, some of it is bad. In retrospect, I can see where I've changed for the good; but unfortunately I've changed a little bit and it has not been good change---so I can see where people who say that would be coming from.

I'd also agree that I'm not the same person I was in high school--to some extent. I think one of my bad characteristics from high school have followed me into college. I'll admit one of my personal flaws is that eternal hope of certain situations coming through. And though that faded towards the end of high school, I've had to remind myself (this year specifically) that my life isn't a fairytale, nor is it fiction---it's real---and the outcomes I want won't come just because I want them or just because I wish for them. Sometimes you just have to play with the cards that are dealt to you and just let go of the hope. Letting go of the hope is something I've (again) failed to do. I thought I got over that in high school, obviously I haven't. I'm trying to do it again here and yes there will be some sacrifices but I think anyone who reads this will (hopefully) support my decisions especially if they benefit me in the end.

Another reason I'm not the same person I was in high school is because college life has jilted me. Should I have expected it? Yes. Did I? No. A lot of things about the way things have happened here at SIU have totally caught me off guard. People. Their motivations. Hidden agendas. One of the things I've realized about college is that it's not really school---yes, there is education---but college is more like a cutthroat business ran by amateurs. And if you're not ready for it, the ones who you hold close will go behind your back and take what you want. Unfortunately for me, I'm open with a lot of people and I believe that has cost me at SIU. I've learned from my mistakes (I hope) and again I must move on from that.

The consensus of people who know me, whether it be from SIU or from Chicago, is that I'm a bitter young man which is sometimes entertaining, sometimes depressing....but always a cause for concern---especially those who believe that they know good things are in my future.

The statement I agree most with is that I've lost touch with my roots. Personally I've changed a lot in the past few years. I remember coming to school being motivated by the doubts of others which is what really got me through Freshman year. But with success "doubters" left and a sense of not caring came over me because I felt that I had nothing to prove. Unfortunately I've taken a tumble when it comes to my grades, now I'm motivated again. Not by "doubters" but instead I'm self-motivated to prove to myself that I belong here and that I made the right decision coming to SIU.

Back to my roots though. Yes, I've lost touch with my roots, I'll admit it. I've lost contact with a lot of people that helped get me through high school, and I'm sorry for that. I miss them and their positive impact on my life. Don't get me wrong, I don't miss the rigors of high school---I just miss all of the people that made my high school experience worthwhile.

In the end, despite all that I said in the sections above I am the same person in a lot of aspects. I'm still the well-mannered, generally soft spoken, friendly guy who also happens to be the self-proclaimed world's biggest Cubs fan and major sports fanatic. Certain aspects have changed, but for the most part...

...I am who you thought I was.

Again, thanks to all my friends who have supported me through the good times and the bad times.

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