The Newsletter

I want those stickers!

OOOOOH! I want those stickers!

It’s getting to be that time of the year when I need to put together a newsletter to send out with my Christmas New Years cards (because, lets be realistic: I won’t get them in the mail by Christmas). It has been a plenty busy year with weddings and graduations which kept us hopping, but most of the highlight moments of the year belong to my siblings. I’m perfectly OK with this- I don’t want this post to sound like sour grapes or anything. Besides, I may not have completed a landmark like graduating or getting married, but I did start a pretty big landmark by starting graduate school. There is a different emphasis placed on starting a venture than there is on finishing it. I find it ironic that “commencement” comes at the end of a period of study instead of at the beginning.

I suppose the difference comes from the fact that by merely starting a venture is no guarantee that anything will come of it. I think it is probably part of human nature to wait and see if someone is successful at a venture before celebrating their attempt. Many people set out to write the Great American Novel. Very few ever finish a draft, much less publish. This makes a certain amount of sense: wait and see who is truly worthy of celebration by waiting to see who makes it to the finish line. But it does illustrate how much more emphasis we put on “completing” than we do on “attempting”.

So how do you celebrate an attempt? People always criticize kids for receiving “participation” ribbons and trophies just for showing up for a sports team or a dance recital, because it “devalues” actual accomplishment. I earned a ton of medals for playing the violin in middle school and I wasn’t that good: for a while that bothered me, until I realized that I got the point of the metals wasn’t to rank me against other musicians (in which case I was somewhere close to “last chair, second violins”) but rather to show that I, myself, had done something of merit. Say what you like about “participation” trophies, it sure is nice to get the encouragement along the way.

I can’t exactly expect to be handed any trophies for surviving my first semester of graduate school, but I do have two new films under my belt that I can look at as accomplishments. They my grad school equivalent of the participation trophy: they aren’t going to win me any Academy Awards, but it’s nice to know that I did something of merit.

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on December 10, 2013.

One Response to “The Newsletter”

  1. Just being accepted into your graduate program was huge! Congratulations!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: