Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Fire in the belly

There are different types of ways that life’s lessons present themselves. They either come from the realm of experience or inspiration. In many cases, they come from both realms.

Why am I bothering to devote an article to talking about lessons? Perhaps it’s because I realize that I have learned several lessons this year. Perhaps it is because I know that there are many other kids sitting in the same position that I am, wondering what is going to become of their lives once the calendar rolls past Commencement. May 15, 2010. Many are sitting and asking themselves the question, “Who am I?”

In a sense, we all know who we are. We know what makes us who we are. However, we do not know what will happen to us in the future. Of course, we are not supposed to but it is a daunting question just the same.

With parents, advisors and our own consciences pressing us on job searches and our futures, it is not hard to get a little stressed out on this matter. Mix this with the normal array of young adult stresses, and one can feel that he is in a blender. How do we avoid from getting pushed around?

The answer is to view things from multiple perspectives – small and large scale, individually and collectively. Sometimes we try so hard to put things into perspective that we forget with what we are dealing. What we need to do is be happy with who we are, not what people think we should be.

Over the past weekend, I had a conversation with a friend, Mitchell, who reminded me of this. He knows what it means to put things into perspective and having good things happen because you are true to yourself.

This past summer, Mitchell had one of his dreams come true this summer when he was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. I’ve known Mitchell for a few years now but the conversation that we had over the weekend was personal.

We talked about hopes and dreams. We talked about perspective and motivation. We talked about who we were. Though we talk to our parents about these subjects all of the time, it was a different perspective to talk these things over with a friend.

The one thing that motivates Mitchell is his older brother, who serves our country as a member of the United States Marine Corps. What Mitchell told me was something I have known all along, something we all know but that we often need reminding of.

We all have the chance to do something great. The difference between greatness and mediocrity is commitment. What we discussed this past weekend was fire. Not a bonfire but something deeper ­­– the fire that drives us to be who we are., the fire that is our conscience and our raw dedication to ourselves and all things beyond ourselves. We talked about harnessing that fire and walking to unknown depths in our lives with it.

As we talked about this fire, various pictures of inspiration appeared in my mind – pictures of inspiration that make up some of my fire.

I thought of the background on my computer, Marines raising the flag on Mount Suribachi, the fifth day of the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. These men dedicated their lives to something greater than themselves. Heroes that took their dreams and ran with it, no matter what others thought, much like those that lost their lives in the tragic shooting at Fort Hood last week.

Yes, there are personal stories that motivate me as well. Among them are my family – one bound by love. We all have this revelation at some point. These are our components.

We must take into perspective our position in the world. We live in the United States of America. We have the opportunity to do what we want and follow our dreams. Many parts of this world do not have that luxury. However, this is only the bigger picture.

While it is true that we must look out for each other, we must not forget to look out for ourselves either. We have to our individual self into perspective before we can put ourselves in perspective with the world.

In the end, we have to find that fire within us and run with it as my friend put it.

Through a simple conversation with a friend, I was reminded of this lesson. I was also reminded of the fact that life isn’t about what is popular. It is about what is right, whether it be individually or collectively.

Matt Kushi is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected].

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    muad'dibNov 12, 2009 at 8:09 am

    The problem with having fire in your belly is that everyone’s got a different fire in their belly, so you have to tone it down to make it work with the people you care about.