There are so many factors that can influence a person’s life path and the choices they make in their educational path. I will share a little about what factors influenced my education, and I realize that the reader of this column may be able to connect in some way. I also realize the reader may not be able to connect, at all. This, I believe is the value of diversity in our social relationships and our daily life. My hope is that the reader will think of himself or herself as a person with potential for positive change.
Education is the vessel and the student’s life guides the sail. Speaking to this frame of thought, appropriately, I found this quote on an inspiration page I follow on Instagram. “An entire sea of water cannot sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship. Similarly, the negativity of the world cannot put you down unless you allow it to get inside of you.”
We use our common sense and our circumstances and we also use our imagination and creativity to figure out our educational path. I can recall the exact day I waited tables at an El Chico Restaurant, I began to think that the life I was living could be improved. Life could be better and opportunity lay before me. Fast forward to two years later, as I sat in a classroom of social work students studying program development for children, youth, and families.
We began to learn about SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-sensitive. In my opinion, the sooner we are exposed to the concept of smart goals the smoother our academic sailing can be. We will always face adversity, we will always face challenges, but as students of the life experience we can learn, strengthen, sharpen our tools, and succeed. We do those things with the support of our families and our culture.
There are many times that we feel alone in our stresses, our challenges, our worries, and our doubts. This is the space for us to understand what helps us function in healthy and unhealthy ways, from the physical to the emotional to the spiritual sense. Life’s interactions have taught me that the more knowledgeable we become, the more sympathetic we can be to the world around us.
In my most challenged times, I know that I relied on the words of my grandmother Joyce who always told her children and grandchildren that education is a type of insurance. We do not always know in the moment how the struggle will benefit us, but once we have earned it no one can take our education away from us.
Currently, I serve the Osage Nation as an academic counselor. In this capacity I have been able to utilize my acquired skills for understanding people at their own level of development. It is a rewarding experience to help others recognize their strengths. Some gifts come naturally and some come with the blessing of education.