Monday, January 25, 2010

Who's in Charge Here?

A lot of times, I fall under the illusion that I'm in control of my life. I find myself pressing the gas pedal of my car, and the car goes. I arrange to play tennis with a friend, and we play tennis. I sign up for 14 hours of classes... and I go to class. Alright so I'm in control!

Until, on the way home, I get a flat tire out of nowhere. And I know nothing about cars. I know how to drive, but I don't know the first step in vehicle maintenance. People watch me work with computers and they say, "Oh Brett, how are you so smart?" That's my least favorite compliment, is when people tell me I'm smart. When I worked at Collin College, I once experienced this very predicament. I was showing a co-worker my most recent project, and he told me "Geez Brett, how are you so smart?" Now this kid was 18, an academic sophomore, and working directly for the department of engineering's director as a student assistant. He was an honor's student and was probably 3 levels of math above me, so him saying something like this was a bit flattering I'll admit, but ultimately unwarranted. I responded to him by saying, "I'm not necessarily smart, I just know a lot about computers, computer networking and programming. I don't know the first thing about mechanical engineering, cooking, the metric system, or car maintenance. Just like you know a lot about math, physics, and soon to be mechanical engineering, you're "smart" in that way."

He then proceeded to stare blankly for a moment, and all of the sudden the expression on his face illustrated a feeling of a new beginning. "Wow... I have never thought about it that way... I.. I think I'll go home and re-think my life" he responds humorously, and we both laughed.

It's very true though. Inside my degree plan, my work, and home, I feel like I know what I'm doing, and I know what calls to make. But throw me a curve ball, show me a musical band, a TV show, tell me to DJ a radio station, cook, or show me the inside of a car, and I'm a lost puppy. I've all of the sudden lost my way, and little things like what's for dinner, flat tires, sickness, new living environments, and new class material have me struggling to keep control of my life here at UNT. It's all a part of the learning process though, and it's all equally important.

So to answer who's in charge here, it's still me. I still make the final call on all my decisions, just like you, the student applying to come to the University of North Texas right now, have that same control! You just have to learn to wield that control and power, and you can be a raging success.