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First Essay For Centenary College Afc 1001

REFLECTION PIECE: How do you expect to change as a person by means of progressing through and completing the courses in the Associates program?



"I am a part of all that I have met;

Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough

Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades

For ever and for ever when I move."

- Lord Alfred Tennyson, Ulysses excerpt





The above quotation, an excerpt from Lord Alfred Tennyson's "Ulysses", states perfectly in just a few lines how not only I perceive my experience at Centenary to be, but the long road my life has already taken me. And beyond that road? What amazing adventures will I have and people will I meet on my journey in life, to success? What experiences and insights and memories will I take with me that came as a boon, as a kindness from them? What part of me will be left behind, given to light someone's way, to make something clear, like a trail of bread crumbs? Other than my mirror's reflection, who will notice this change inherent in myself? And what will they have to say about it? Will they offer me a job? Will they shake my hand? Will they tell my tale? Or step forward on their own journey, following the footprints I've left behind. With a diploma framed upon my wall, the embodiment of years of study and aptitude, a testament to time and determination; a world renowned sigil of academic success. Does that change a person? I believe it can. And I believe it will.

Change is an interesting process. It happens to us all, every minute of every day; In ways that have mystified the world's greatest philosophers and scientific minds. Entire schools of thought are devoted to the concept of becoming. Becoming what? In this particular instance, becoming more than I was before I stepped foot through the double doors with the number 300 over it. Knowledge is power. More than that, it's the potential to create, to facilitate, to become, to inspire, to empathize, to change; To mold ignorance with the hands of insight and tolerance, planting the seeds of possibility and ideas, reaping the benefits of a prosperous future. It's everywhere; It's in the stone that the builder refused. It's the visual, the intangible and tangible alike; It's in the sky, in the water, in the earth. In the spaces between the stars. In fact, it came from the stars. It's in the power that knew to put the clouds above the mountains, and made the sun rise in such a way that when its rays are reflected off the oceans, you can't tell where our terrestrial plane ends and heaven begins. It's coursing through my mind, to my eager fingers typing away at this very moment. To what end? Knowledge in it's very essence, is the beginning of change. From ignorance to enlightenment. From enlightenment to peace and harmony with and for all things. For all time. To the ends of the earth.

I picture everyone I meet as kind of a wondrously strange and mysterious encyclopedia volume. As "Volume Jon", 31 years in the making, from my perspective, it's difficult to see my own personal contributions to the world. But in a metaphysical sense, if it takes a community to raise a child, a school to raise a student, and a college to raise a graduate, I myself am my own contribution to the world. One might even go as far as saying everything I've done and achieved or failed at in life, every choice I've ever made, lead me to the road of today. I've made it through yesterday, and last week, and 6 years ago. And to think, it took 31 years to make it to today. That's kind of amazing to me, to think about. 31 years of creating the conditions either consciously or subconsciously, making right turns and wrong turns, and left turns... 31 years of mistakes and failures and triumphs, gutter balls, and strikes, flats on Rt 80, and first kisses from cute girls who all seem to never stick around for very long (when they find out that I'm broke), suffering personal indignities and personal glories, and here I am. Attending class for the first time in a school of some renown. Centenary is not just a name, it's recognition. You tell someone you went to community college, they nod their head. Maybe they smile. You tell them that you went to Centenary, and now it's a whole different ballpark. Maybe it's not Harvard or Yale or MIT, but it's not community college either. That right there is a kind of change. A change in perception. You could have the same degree, from 2 different schools, but the weight of one is just a bit more considerable in popular opinion.

I've been silently studying my fellow classmates. The "volumes" of their lives, listening to where they've been and what they've done, where they plan on going. We're all so connected. I'm often wondering how long it will take before I begin to notice how alike we'll become. It's amazing to me. Want to talk about change? One person can change the entire world, simply by dropping their car keys on the way out of their door, headed to work. Or being stuck waiting behind an old lady at a deli who decided to buy her lunch that day with handfuls of pennies, nickels and dimes and miscounted right after $6.82. That old lady just changed the entire world. She's become an agent of change. Time has shifted. Your position in traffic has shifted. Everyone you could've met that day, in that small window of opportunity between the moments is now changed. You'll meet different people. Those people will meet different people. And no one is the wiser, because no one thinks about these kinds of things. And that's something very insignificant in detail and magnitude because it happens all the time. But imagine something greater. Something life defining. Such as a college degree. Or the first of several college degrees.

Now, I'll leave this question up for debate. You could be the old lady counting change, or the person who drops their keys on the way to work, or the cashier, or the person tapping their foot in frustration behind the old lady. It doesn't matter, your future has changed, however so insignificantly. But consider this, if that kind of change influences the entire world, on even a miniscule scale, what then could a college degree do?
TheDarkTower TheDarkTower 31-35, M May 4, 2012

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