What drives you? What makes the On-Demand student get up in the morning and progress another day?

By Kelly Swanson

curiosity_dribbbleFor me, it’s curiosity. Curiosity drives me to get up every morning because I want to know what’s going to happen today. Everyday, I set out to determine my destiny for that day, but there are always external forces that act on my path. Forces that I am not in control of; what some people would call destiny such as the wind, the rain, traffic, an email, a boss, family, the car, or anything that acts as a negative force on a positive force; as an instigator of change. Negative defined not as bad, but in the force of movement towards a determined goal. An example might be a raindrop sliding down a piece of glass, forces such as the wind, the residue from glass cleaner, the tiny molecular imperfections of the glass itself, all diverting that raindrop from its initial path. We didn’t know what the path was when we started. We assumed it to be straight and uneventful, but those unknown opportunities that come from external sources are there, unaware, until our paths cross. As those positive and negative forces cross each other we become an instigator to that unknown and the unknown becomes our instigator, so we are reactionary to each other like electrical pulses.

As Thunderbird students, we are aware of the challenges we have each week as we progress forward to our goal of graduating. We are the little raindrops sliding down a pane of glass. Sometimes it’s a free fall, and others times, it seems that so many unknowns are in our paths that we feel like we will never reach our goal. We hope that all ends well. We work hard to push our progress forward, in an ever-changing environment, hoping that the sun will not become so bright that we evaporate before we reach our goal.

I am leaving on a flight to Lima, Peru for my RBE the same day as my wife’s birthday. That weighs heavy on my heart. She keeps telling me to, “Go. Have a good time.” I know I am going to have a great time, but that also makes me feel guilty. This force, my guilt, is an unknown that I know will create mental and physical challenges for me, but with it comes gratification, solitude, and the knowledge that I will carry forward to my goal. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia states, “We know what we are, but not what we may be.” These words are always in my mind because we never know and that is what creates fear in some people. Others choose that as a light to forge ahead and always seek what is just over the hill. As you travel from place to place “Don’t become a mere recorder of facts, but try to penetrate the mystery of their origin (Ivan Pavlov).” Always look below the surface of your “self” and your competition to find out what drives them, motivates their actions, and at that moment your will see if you’re a raindrop, or a piece of glass. See you next week from Lima and remember… the bird is the word!

3 thoughts on “What drives you? What makes the On-Demand student get up in the morning and progress another day?

  1. Excellent read Kelly! Ah challenges….these are the little teachers that come into our lives. Some lessons are harder to learn than others. They can bring clarity in some instances, and a wake up call in otheres. As much as I like “smooth sailing”, so to speak, it is these very challenges that have made me a better person. Although irritating to be blown off course, sometimes this is the best action when reflected on. As T-Birds, we have a “never give up” attitude. This is what sets us apart from the pack. Therefore, as we march towards our goals, we understand that as global citizens, we have to factor in the unknown and embrace it no matter how challenging. Without these forces that impede our path, what would life look like?

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