Gary has this kind of demanding and sometimes grouchy image with some of the students. But I love Gary. He is the reason I have done as much as I have - and why I keep trying to do more. He believes in the students who want to do something with their lives and are willing to ask for all the help they need in order to get it.
I'm pretty sure at one point I was delusional and wanted him to be my adoptive father while my dad lives in China. It's like THAT crazy how much he supports you and makes you want to be better. But you come down from that weird pipe-dream pretty quickly, the minute he puts you back in your place.
Now I'm finally at the point of talking about my revelations. They've been hitting me all year long, and we're only one week into February.
1. I need to be healthier. This isn't new, but I'm trying in small steps, for real.
2. Bad friends - old or new - have no place in my schedule. I don't care if I've known them for 15 years, complained to one about another, or thought we were close friends only to find out we're not... I don't have time to waste trying to make everyone happy if they aren't going to try for me.
3. Speaking of time, I need to be more organized. I have a lot of stuff to do and focus on my senior project. It's crunch time.
4. It's extremely flattering to be told you're the top-dog. Literally, "you're the top dog," when talking about the department. I was asked to help check out the scholarship candidates because they think I can "run this place up and down." I was stunned for about two days and I feel like I'm bragging right now, so I'll stop. Also, hearing nice things about you from someone you deeply respect makes you cry when you get home.
5. I need to take more risks. I don't really have many goals - I have maybe five serious life goals that I want to achieve, but I hadn't thought about the little ones along the way. And what about alternate plans? What if "Helen Arase, Photojournalist" doesn't turn out the way I had planned? I'm going to start putting more feelers out there.
I hope I keep getting hit with these revelations. I want to keep growing and I am very grateful for being in the place that I am, with the guidance that I have and the support around me. I am so inspired and driven right now. I don't want to lose this passion.