Sunday, January 13, 2008

One to go

"White flag! One more time around!"

If the great racing announcer Ken Squier had the call for my college career, that's what we'd be hearing right about now. Tomorrow I begin the last semester of my life as an undergraduate. It has been, as I half-jokingly tell people, "the greatest ten years of my life."

And very soon it will be over.

It has not been an easy road. Through a great many faults of my own, it has taken far longer than it ought to have taken - but for all that, they have been good years. I've learned a lot about life. About people. About myself.

I've even learned a little about geography.

There is the urge to make of this a retrospective, which it cannot be. I am not yet there. There is still one more lap to be run, one more semester to be completed. But the finish line is very nearly in sight.

Last semester was the most challenging of all of them - never have your gall bladder removed in the middle of a semester in which you're taking six classes totalling 18 credit hours - and when I finished it, I heaved a huge sigh of relief. Why? Because, as the late, great Jim Valvano used to say of the NCAA Tournament, last fall I had to "survive and advance." That was my motto throughout the fall. Survive and advance.

In another life, I would have failed. But I am not now that person whom I was then.

I survived. I advanced.

And so we come to the spring. Last fall, I did not allow myself to look beyond December, beyond the goals I had for that semester. Now, when I look to the goals of a semester, I see the goals of a decade about to be fulfilled.

White flag. One more to go.

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