I’m new at this. Further, I have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing — having no experience writing in this manner. This being the first of what will undoubtedly be a prolific, expansive, magnanimous career that will touch the lives and hearts of many a Lawrentian, I’m entirely without ideas about which to write.
Maybe I could express some revolutionary idea about life, philosophy, political science, history, mathematics, the culinary arts or meteorology as it pertains to the stock market. Shall I make conjectures as to the proper living standards of individuals, declaim the immoral practices of our government or explicate English pastoral practices to gain insight into the world?
As a freshman with over a term and a half of higher education, I must say these ideas appeal to me. Certainly, I could dictate to everyone my undeniably correct opinions on everything important in this world.
As a freshman with over a term and a half of secondary education, I must also say I’m wholly unqualified to do so. I feel like any grand pronouncements I could make on life — “living is a thing best done while carrying an umbrella” or “if you see a camel, the sun will set tonight” — would fall on skeptical ears, given my credentials.
I’m doubting the validity of this article right now. I can feel myself floundering about with words, trying to find something to grasp onto, lest I drown in this ill-advised, whitewater rafting trip of an opinion piece.
And maybe that’s all this is. Perhaps this first attempt will be a mess. The fact remains that something is learned. I have a new experience. Either I tried something and it failed, or I tried something and it worked. Regardless, there is a lesson learned and I have a building block from which future endeavors can spring.
It is a fact of reality that routine is safe and breaking from routine poses some risks, some uncertainties. I, certainly, and others, I imagine, struggle with this. We fall into routine. We go to class every day and eat meals with the same people.
Deviations take effort. One must think, “Today, I will try the kiwi-banana smoothie, though I have never before and it may possess a poor flavor.” Following a similar routine every day is simplistic in that every action has already been done, and we are well aware of the consequences.
Unfortunately, maintaining a routine offers no new experiences. Despite the allures of schedule and organization, we are not made aware of new possibilities by doing the same things every day. Without new opportunities, we stagnate as the only activities available to us are ones previously done.
As stagnation is hardly a laudable goal, I’ve made a personal commitment to trying things, regardless of how poorly they may fail. I hope you might do the same.
If you examine the one experience that all great writers have in common, it is that they began to write at some point. If you consider the one experience all successful soft drink manufacturers hold as a common bond, it is their decision at the beginning to start producing soft drinks. If you look at the successes of Leonardo da Vinci, Barack Obama, the protesters in Egypt, Plato, the cast of Jersey Shore — though you may hate yourself for calling them successes — their triumphs, as disparate as they are, can be traced back to an initial point where each decided to begin.
And now I am left near the end, trying to tie everything together like I’m supposed to do. To risk sounding cliché: It is impossible to do anything if we do not begin it.
To quote a person who is famous enough to have quotes on the Internet: “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” —Wayne Gretzky.
To move in any direction, it is necessary to recognize that you wish to move in that direction and decide you wish to take a step; to prepare for the future, it is necessary to develop as a person by beginning new things. To be prepared, it is necessary to own an umbrella.