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Motivation….makes it happen

June 16, 2014

This post has an unlikely inspiration. I was watching an episode of Modern Family which happens to be one of my favorite  shows. The highlight was on Alex, the youngest sister in the Dunphy house. She is cast on the show as a very smart, capable girl who seems uncomfortable with her status at school as a nerd even though she sometimes doesn’t see how much a nerd she actually is. On the episode, Alex is struggling with all of the things on her plate like AP tests and college applications and things that the rest of her family doesn’t really understand. You see, Claire (the mother), Phil (father), Haley (older sister), and Luke (brother) all are not like Alex. Alex stands out because she is so smart and her other family is “ditzy.” She is driven and wants to get into the best school and puts an exorbitant amount of pressure on herself to do well.

Juxtaposed throughout the episode is the open house at school where Claire and Phil go to learn about their daughter’s schedule and workload. There is a moment where Claire starts to have a meltdown because she realizes that Alex needs to do 6 hours of homework after school just to keep up. While Claire is having her meltdown just thinking about how much Alex has to do, Alex has set up a therapy session because she also had a meltdown.

While Alex is in therapy, she says something that struck a chord with me… she is who she is and she accepts her role as family nerd. But the motivation to be the best comes from within and not from anyone else. This realization is one that I came to a little while ago as well. For the longest time in high school I just slacked off. I did not care about school. I did well enough to keep the parents happy but knew I could do so much better.

There was a moment where I challenged myself to do the best I could do the last semester of senior year. I ended up 0.01 away from a 4.0. The next challenge was doing well in college and I will admit that I was doing it because I didn’t want to waste money. I went through college like I went through high school… I did not really care. Again, doing well enough for my parent’s satisfaction but not as well as I could do. This was until halfway through senior year when I for the last time switched my major. I was just trying to get out of college the quickest way possible but in doing so, it changed my life forever.

Humanities was the best thing to happen to me and I owe my current adoration for learning to the faculty there. I did not realize that learning could be so fun and enjoyable. My senior thesis was on a topic that is so near and dear to me and really fostered my passion for continuing to learn every day. This led to my eventual turn to healthcare as the career I wanted most. I knew that my bachelors degree was not enough for me to move up in any company and decided to return to school. All the while I was at work full time and school full time, I thought to myself, “what have I done?” However, I continued to march on. Each class became  more interesting and after receiving all A’s my first semester there, I decided to challenge myself to get only A’s the rest of the way. I loved the classwork and craved the knowledge that my professors were instilling in me and even did extra work just to stay ahead of the curve. All of this led me to the realization that Alex had in Modern Family:

I am a nerd and I love every single second of it. The motivation for me to do well and be successful is no longer extrinsic. It has become a feeling of thirst for more knowledge, a passion for moving up in an organization, and a duty to help as many individuals as I can. I do what I do because I want to, not because someone else is telling me to. I have become my own person. Yes, I hear the banter about being a “career student” but shouldn’t we all be career students? Shouldn’t we all have the intrinsic motivation to do well and be successful so that we may live our lives to the fullest? After all, what else will we have but our legacy when we die?

It is here that I want to thank those professors, mentors, and parents for giving me the chance to attend college and find my own way. I am grateful to them for everything they have done and am proud of becoming a career student. If that is my label, I will own it with pride and continue on my journey to quench my thirst for knowledge.

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