Tag Archives: graduation

Small moments outshine major milestone

I applied for graduation yesterday. You know, that major event that caps one’s college career, the newfound prestige evident in ill-fitting commencement garb.

Yet it’s in the minute details of this semester that I’ve found the most joy and fulfillment.

While writing the Arabic alphabet yesterday for an assignment, I felt confident. I knew every letter, finally. Then, I received an at-the-time-unwelcome helping of humility in the form of one realization: I didn’t know how to properly write my own name.

The ego is a peculiar thing. It simultaneously motivates and endangers us.

Every week, I write a brief 100- to 150-word preview of Drake’s and Northern Iowa’s football games. They occupy little retail in the sports section of the Des Moines Register. But they remind me that sports are about more than scores and stats. They’re about building community, and I’m grateful to be a part of that larger goal.

I walked down to the Meredith Hall basement a few days ago and experienced a number of minute but impactful moments. I remembered my initial fear — and eventual comfort — in the realm of video editing and electronic news gathering. I remembered the semester-long dismantling of my journalistic ego, captured in the following mindset: “I’m the queen of print, so why should I learn this digital rubbish?”

And I remembered that about this time a year ago, I learned my No. 1 journalistic mentor and inspiration, Rick Tapscott, was ill. I recall the time (all right — times) I panicked in his office about a source, a lede, my future (or sometimes, all the above). One of Rick’s journalistic catch phrases was, “Get the name of the dog.” Translated, it means the small details and moments matter.

For a long time, I considered him solely a journalistic mentor. When I hit “submit” on my graduation application yesterday, when I completed what’s billed as a major moment and didn’t feel a thing, I realized Rick was more than a journalistic mentor.

What he taught me transcends the 100-150 words I write about football each week. It transcends Drake University and the Des Moines Register newsroom. Before my wannabe-philosopher self launches into some winding explanation of life’s minutiae, I’ll say it the best way I know: “Get the name of the dog.”

Break yields new self, new goals

Every summer, a new self emerges. Energized by the balmy weather and endless excuses to eat ice cream, I find myself preoccupied by the promise of adventure and spontaneity. Qualities hardly associated with a lifelong color-coder and list-maker.

Still, something about this time of year practically forces me to pause and finally reflect on the year thus far. And in 2014 more than any other year, I have a lot on which to reflect.

My college graduation is seven months away. I completed my senior journalism capstone. I delved into the formerly unfamiliar digital realm of tablet production and TV field photography. I traveled to Turkey.

And for the first time in my life, I’ve stopped searching for conclusions. You know, the grand, sweeping declarations that neatly cap each experience, allowing me to move to the next. As if life unfolded on some kind of linear timeline, each phase culminating in an epiphany or nugget of wisdom. Ha.

Though I’d like to give my summer self a little credit for her newfound affinity for the impromptu, I’ve realized it’s a tough mentality to maintain. As the summer progresses, as adventures and experiences unfold, I’ll probably become impatient and discouraged when I can’t immediately discern their broader impact in my life.

This summer, though, there’s only one broader impact for which I’m searching: I’m determined to do things that scare me. And no, I don’t mean cliff-jumping or sky-diving. I’m talking about more deeply rooted fears.

Like meditation (anything that forces me to be still and reflect is terrifying). And wearing my natural hair down without extensive preparation (curly hair life). Like giving my beloved calendar app a vacation. Hey, some fears are bigger than others.

Rather than force hasty conclusions, I’ll simply strive to confront one fear a day. Some days, that’ll mean trying a new flavor of shake at Snookies. Others, it’ll mean forcing myself to be still and simply linger on the minutiae of life.

And today, it means writing this post — admitting I don’t have any neat conclusion, epiphany or nugget of wisdom to offer. I only have nagging uncertainty and oh, yeah, an ice cream cone. The usual flavor. Hey, it’s a process.