Thursday, November 22, 2012

I Can Master This! by: Hannah Dixon '13

Another guest post from one of my favorites. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, I am thankful for a job I love and chance to make a difference in the world. Blessings to you and yours this holiday.

Life throws us curve balls on a weekly, even daily basis. During my time abroad in Florence, Italy I have learned that determination and willingness are the key to truly “mastering” one’s self and experiences. Curveballs are no longer scary and you will have become the master of your own destiny. Although we are taught to avoid selfish behavior, it is important to realize that before being able to help others you must learn how to love yourself and the moment in which God has placed you.

Never before did I realize that I had the energy, capability and navigational skills to travel multiple countries in one weekend while balancing 18 units of schoolwork, a new language, finding new friends and whatever was going on with people at home. However, every uncomfortable and new situation that I was placed in resulted in something positive. One is never motivated to learn if they are always put in an environment in which they are familiar with. This can often lead to a dead end academically, socially, personally, mentally and spiritually. Therefore, I ask you, what have you done to make yourself uncomfortable today? And how far are you willing to go to appreciate the gift of your own strength?

We are much more than ourselves. Take upon the beauty of the world and avoid the mantra “ but I know everything there is to know already about x, y, z.” Chances are, there is someone who is wiser, surer and more respected in the subject. Therefore, when you feel as if life has become dull or that you are growing out of “old” ways, remember, you can master anything. With a lot of patience, a little bit of love and even more compassion, do your present (and future self) a favor and channel the humility and wisdom needed to grow. Life changes more rapidly than we are more willing to admit, go out and master yourself and your brightest capabilities! 

#20 “I can master this.”

The ability to learn is the foundation of every other talent.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Don't Care by: Brianne McGann

Brianne McGann '11
& current SLIC Staff
I have spent most of my life trying to be perfect. And, I certainly haven't been perfect, which has led me to a lot of self-criticism of not being enough. Not smart enough, not pretty enough, not social enough, not organized enough, just not good enough. Striving to be perfect and feeling like "I'm not good enough" seem to be very common in our society. As I was reading through the list of phrases, "I don't care" stuck out because it has helped me the most in letting go of being perfect and accepting who I am. It's not the "I don't care" that we say when we really do care, but just don't want to talk about it. Or the "I don't care" of not deciding what restaurant everyone should go to for dinner. It's the "I don't care" of letting go of the worries that don't matter to be able to be more successful in the things that do matter. 

I have often struggled with the tension between standing up for my values and beliefs and being liked by everyone. In a previous job, my values were put to the test a lot. I am a rule-follower. But, I came across a few situations where the rules that were supposed to be followed weren't in the best interest of the group I was working with. I could have told them to just follow the rules- because I didn't want to get in trouble for telling someone to break the rules or didn't want to take the blame if what was happening went terribly wrong or didn't want to set a precedence that rule-breaking resulted in good. Often, after wrestling for quite some time, I came to the conclusion that I didn't care about what my boss would say or if it all turned out wrong because I knew why I was doing what I was doing. I was willing to face the consequences if something did go wrong, but letting go of the worries and the "what ifs" allowed me to get something done! "I don't care" can be pretty powerful and though it's often considered an apathetic phrase, sometimes, saying "I don't care" helps get work done. 
#11:  “I don’t care.”

Being able to discern between what’s important and what’s trivial is a skill that will save your sanity and your schedule.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tell Me More by: Stephanie Atienza ‘12

Some of the best of the class of 2012
Picture this… it’s a typical Monday morning at USD around 9:30am and I walk in to Mandy’s office for our usual catch up session. I tell her stories about the themed dance we had, what was going on with my friends, and how classes were going. Now, if you don’t know me, I talk very fast. I continue talking miles a minute trying to paint a picture of my life’s events to Mandy when she stops me. She gives me a look of curiosity and says, “Tell me more.” If you are one of Mandy’s students you know what look I am talking about and you have maybe even heard that line once or twice.
Being naive I chuckled and just thought she was saying, “okay Stephanie tell me more,” because she either didn’t want to believe what I was saying or found humor in the happenings of the Greek bubble at USD.

Little did I know that Mandy’s famous line she often said to me, in fact was also Number 14 on Forbes list of “40 Things to Say Before You Die.” Every number on the list has a little drawing and a short line about it. Number 14 had a chart with an arrow pointing to the words ignorance and curiosity. Under “Tell me More,” it read, “Really getting to know someone (or some topic) will help you better triangulate your own place in the world.”

Now this really got me thinking and had me go back to those talks Mandy and I had in her office. What was Mandy really saying to me when she said, “tell me more?”

I realize know that she was not having me explain myself so she could have a better understanding, but instead she was asking so I could better understand myself. “Tell me more,” was her way of getting me to think about the situations and relationships I was in. Whether it was something silly like “Mandy we got locked out of our house last night,” or something more personal like, “Oh Mandy I haven’t talked to him/her in two months,” Mandy’s saying was helping me dig deeper.

Usually following “tell me more,” Mandy would ask me questions and help me take a step back and really take a look at what I was sharing with her. Reminding me to look at the big picture of things, she helped me grow as a person, realize my self worth, and learn that I didn’t have to put up with things that I didn’t agree with or made me unhappy.

I was lucky enough to work with Mandy as one of my Advisors, but through my four years she also became a trusted friend and a loved mentor, who was continually helping me grow, whether I knew it or not.

Now I’m not saying that just by asking for more information, you will suddenly be enlightened and have all of your answers; however, I am encouraging you to ask questions and dig deeper into your personal like and in the topics that interest you.

Just like Mandy taught me, by learning more about the things, people, and situations in your life, you in turn learn more about yourself and ways you can grow. So the next time someone is telling you a story, I challenge you to say to them, “tell me more.” You never know what answers you’ll find.

#14. “Tell me more.”

Really getting to know someone (or some topic) will help you better triangulate your own place in the world.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Real Life Lessons

A few weeks ago I can across this article from Forbes. I know, not my usual forte... But, it was remarkable. It is titled, "40 Things To Say Before You Die". It captured so many of the "life lessons" that I have learned (and re-learned) over the years. I have asked a handful of students and alumni to read the article and write a piece on one of the 40 items. I have no doubt that at least one will choose to write on #21, "Damn, I look good. You come from a long time of people who convinced others to sleep with them. Remember that." And, I look forward to reading it!

Here is what stuck out to me:
#39. “Today was good.”

If you can say it once, you can say it again. And again. And again.

My Dad used to always say, "Will it matter in 10 years, 10 weeks, 10 minutes?" I think growing up with the constant reminder that each and every day was good was a valuable lesson. When I learned to view life from that lens, it all just seemed to be a little easier. Two weeks ago I had a really bad day. The kind that makes you want to go home, get in bed and pull the covers over your head. I was texting a friend about it and they replied back with, "But tomorrow you will get up and do it all again because you believe in what you do." A powerful reminder that optimism drives each and every day. In the graphic, optimism overlaps with appreciation and at that intersection I find Forward Momentum. Really, the progress that shows that I make the world a better place.
Real life lessons.