Storytelling

2011/03/18

A while back, one of the Let’s Blog Off topics was storytelling and what makes a good story.  I chose not to participate because I did not really know how to answer this question.  After a few weeks of stewing on the topic, I think I have stumbled upon my answer.

Having spent the majority of my adult life in college, I am used to writing.  Granted, I am not too great at it, but at least I try my best.  College term papers & essay exams are analytical by nature – e.g. compare & contrast, list the x number of qualities, etc.  They don’t really focus on storytelling.  (English & literature majors may have a different experience, but I am not familiar with it.  I avoided those classes like the plague.)

Storytelling, I believe, is like letter writing.  It is a dying art.  Many people are more focused on facts and figures than on creating a narrative.  I wish schools would focus more on storytelling.  Maybe society would be more relaxed.  Who doesn’t love a good tale?  I know I do.

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We’re Not Paying for It

2011/03/15

Most of us think of advice as words of wisdom.  Advice should be more than words, it should be something that is meaningful and sticks with you for the rest of your life.  The best advice I received wasn’t advice per say, but it taught me a life lesson.

I was 19 years old and wanted to be a civil engineer.  At the time, Miami did not have a true engineering school, so I applied to the University of Kentucky (UK).  When I received my acceptance letter to UK, my parents could not understand what I was saying because I was running around like a maniac.  After becoming coherent, I showed my mother the acceptance letter.  She told me this: “It’s not Miami, so we’re not paying for it.”

I was devastated.  How could my parents do this to me?  How could they crush my dream of becoming the greatest female civil engineer?  I mean, isn’t it the parents’ responsibility to pay for their child’s education?

Since I am a tad strong-willed, I decided that I wasn’t going to let my parents stop me.  Come hell or high water, I was going to find a way to pay for the exorbitant out-of-state tuition.  I legally declared independence from my parents, which made me eligible for a great deal of financial aid.

Later that year, UK announced that it was raising out-of-state tuition by $1000.  I could no longer afford to attend the school, so I transferred to my family’s beloved Miami and became a paper science & engineering major.  I thought my parents would pay my tuition since it was Miami.  They didn’t.  I was jealous of my friends because they didn’t have to worry about money.  All they had to do was call Mommy & Daddy.  I did not have that luxury.

Nearly 20 years later, I can honestly say that was the best thing my mother could have ever done for me.  I was forced to fend for myself without the safety net known as Mom & Dad.  Being on my own at such an early age taught me responsibility.  I learned I could support myself without anyone’s help and live to tell about it.

Advice.  We all give it; we all receive it.  I am glad I decided to be on the receiving end of Mom’s advice.


Love and Honor

2011/03/01

My fellow Miamians will know that ‘love and honor’ is the first line of the university’s fight song.  Love and honor is more than words to my alma mater’s fight song; it is what I want my legacy to be.  This brings us to today’s edition of Let’s BlogOff, in which we attempt to describe our individual legacy.

I try to live my life by The Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”  I can think of no better way to be remembered as honorable.  Below are a few examples from my life.

  • While helping someone drop an engine into a car, I fell off a milk crate and ended up with a 4″ gash on my left calf.  This person rescued me during a snow storm, when I had a flat tire.
  • Working 15 hours one day to complete testing for a customer who wanted results the following day.  One of the electronics engineers spent an entire day giving me a plant tour because I wanted to better understand the customer’s processes.
  • Taking a friend to the airport at 4:00 AM.  He listened to my problems for nearly two hours the previous evening without complaining.
  • Staying up until 2:00 AM for three days straight helping a friend move.  When my ex paid me a not-so-pleasant visit a month later, my friend was the first person I called and encouraged me to contact police.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not nice to people just to get something in return.  I assist people because I care, and it makes me feel worthwhile.

Love and honor are basic needs of life.  They are what most of us strive for.  I can think of nothing more than ask to be remembered as a loving and honorable person.