Sunday, July 29, 2007

Looking Back - Looking Forward

The first two posts I ever wrote for this little project - now more than 18 months and 300 posts ago, were about me. I know, in some respect almost all of them are, but I’m speaking more in definitive, descriptive terms. Vital statistics, as it were. At least that’s what my intention originally was, but I have a penchant for exploring tangents even if I still did not fully realize it. Upon re-reading those first two entries posted back in December 2005, I am happy to say that those inaugural pieces are still, to me at least, profound. Indeed, in retrospect and aided by the light of the passing of time, it is interesting to see how my goals have materialized and how they have evolved.

I began this journal of sorts as a diversion to keep my writing fresh during the five-week winter break at California State University, Sacramento. Only days after my 43rd birthday, I was still at the beginning of a new segment in my life’s journey. That segment will come to an end at the end of this year; I will have earned my BA degree in government-journalism at Sacramento State - magnum cum laude, thank you very much. Although it will be a semester later than originally planned, I am as proud of this achievement as I am surprised by it. I was apprehensive and more than a little scared going in, but I had enough confidence - just enough - that I would get through it. Obviously, I am not only getting through it, I am excelling.

I referred to myself in that first post as an “aspiring writer/journalist.” Today, I am no longer aspiring - I am a writer/journalist. I documented briefly some of the ups and downs of the roller coaster of my life. I wrote in a comment on another blog recently that I have not led a charmed life. In the context of what I was writing, that is true enough, but overall and taking into account where my path has led me today, I cannot say with a straight face “woe is me.” I don’t want to and I won’t discount the work it took to pull myself together, but I can’t discount the enormous help from those that have made it possible. There are so many variables that “figuring it all out” is impossible, however, doing it is not impossible and I am not the only one who has overcome adversity, tragedy, bad luck or trauma.

My first journalism professor at Sac State inspired my blog name, “Mr. Althouse.” It is one of his mannerisms, I guess, but to this day he still refers to me as Mr. Althouse. It was the first instance in a very long time that that salutation with my last name was used in a situation that did not involve a judge, or a doctor, or some other authority figure. I don’t know if it was his intent to instill a sense of self-respect among his students - perhaps, most are half my age and just “growing up,” but in a sense, so was I. At any rate, I no longer look over my shoulder when someone says, “Sir.”

I am currently enjoying a beautiful summer in Fair Oaks, Calif., a very nice suburb in the greater Sacramento area. My last semester starts in about six weeks and by year-end, I will have that diploma that has eluded me for so long. My goal was to begin my career working as a full-time journalist, making my way up the ladder to a major-market daily newspaper. That might still turn out to be the path I take, but so many other doors have opened along the way.

In September I will sit for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). I plan to take a preparatory course prior to it so that I will obtain the best possible score. That score, combined with a 3.8 + GPA at Sac State will be the factors that determine whether law school is in my future. If experience is anything, I must realize anything is possible. It is, again, terrifying. But I’ll do it and see what happens. I will never allow fear to paralyze me again. If I don’t try, I have already failed. Regardless, if all else fails, I think there might be a future in journalism for me.

20 comments:

'B' said...

You want to do MORE study?? Your mad!!! (in a nice kinda way of course...)

Congratulations with the upcoming graduation, and good luck with the LSAT!

Here for he last time tonight from Michele's to wish you the best!

panthergirl said...

Good luck with your aspirations, and I admire you greatly for going after your degree. I've never finished mine and attempted to take some classes online through Penn State to complete it, but just couldn't do that, work and raise kids on my own. Oh well!!

Good luck with the LSAT! I've always wanted to take it.

Here via michele...

kenju said...

I admire you immensely, Mike. And I am not surprised that you graduate with high honors.

I am sure you will do well on the LSAT, and if it consists of essay questions - you're in like Flynn (whoever he was...LOL)!!

carli said...

Good luck! I have a friend who started law school at 37 after a completely different career in graphic design. Though it's eaten up his savings and there have been some missteps along the way (namely, going to a really lousy school the first year, dropping out, and starting over again), he is now very excited about his future.
I love how positive and focused you are about your future.

mckay said...

ooo, you could be the next scott turow.

break a leg on the LSAT, sam.


mck.

Bob-kat said...

Since Cochran died there is an opening I guess! :)

Good luck to you. I am certain that you will make the best of this opportunity!

Michele said...

Anything is indeed possible, despite the fact that it can, at moments, be "terrifying."

You should be so proud of your accomplishments, you worked hard for them. Your success in the past year proves that you are willing to do the work required to realise that success.

You will, of course, do the same to obtain the accomplishments that you will, no doubt, have in your future.

Of this much I am certain...

The Zombieslayer said...

That's pretty impressive (a 3.8 GPA). Keep your options open. I've always found it best to have several options. You have journalism, and possibly law. Both good options.

gautami tripathy said...

Best of luck for whatever you are venturing out into. Studies are never ending.

Despite being a full fledged secondary school mMathematics teacher, I am planning on a management degree. I am working on the modalities and looking at your tenacity, I am encouraged to take the plunge.

Michele sent me here to rant about my life.

LADY LUXIE said...

There are in this day and age but a handful of people quite like you. You would make an inspiring teacher.

There is no doubt in my mind that the years to come will be very fruitful for you. I am just a reader...insignificant I know..but nevertheless, inspired and enamored by your life's story, and the way you weave your everyday to become... even more so.

More power.

BreadBox said...

Good luck with the LSAT --- make sure that when you are applying for law school positions you make your life story work in your favour, and not against you (this can be done, but it also needs to be done and done right: it won't just happen).
Two small niggling points: "magnum cum laude" is a sex-oriented computer game (lounge suit larry, I believe): most US universities use "magna cum laude" as the term of art: secondly, and I would not mention this if it weren't the first word in the posting, the first word in the posting ought perhaps to be "the", not "there"!
I only point this out because I *do* like your writing, and want others to like it too:-)

Oh, and cogratulations on the upcoming magna cum laude:-)

N.

Miz UV said...

Congrats on attaining your BA! Good luck with the LSAT.

Mr. Althouse said...

N. ~

Thank you for pointing out that typo. It never ceases to amaze me how the most obvious and glaring typos can slip through even after I've read the piece several times...

Mike

gautami tripathy said...

Michele sent me back to read this again.

Awareness said...

A blogger friend whom I admire a great deal often writes about his lifelong learning.....and that learning doesn't happen when one feels comfortable. Learning happens when there is a feeling of discomfort....

You write about it being terrifying.....yes indeedy it is. Amazing how fear which once felt like shackles is now the fuel to take risks to tackle our dreams?

I am just catching up....have missed two posts (bad me).....I want to also add my nod of agreement to your piece on those pseudo friends who test the limits with the "just kidding" comments. You're right Mike.....life is too short for that crap.

Have you been on Facebook? It should be called Pretence. All I have encountered is phoney surface chatter of happy people swapping virtual martinis and "poking" people. It's what came to mind when I read you piece on friendship.
Great writing Mr. Alhouse sir....and may your muse continue to flow.......

muskie.

wordnerd said...

Best wishes on the LSAT -- I think you're going to do just fine!

BreadBox said...

MrA: thanks for visiting the breadbox yesterday: it was fun, and quite the busy day, as you predicted!
N.

flleenie said...

I completely understand what you're saying about your first two posts. When I began blogging, I felt like I should write 'for everyone else' and not be too open. Now, forget it! I always say what's on my mind, and I now know the reason for me to blog is self expression.

Congratulations on all of your hard work!

BreadBox said...

There are days when I experience a sort of paralysis: it is usually when I have been procrastinating about something, and I seriously need to get down to doing it, but it is already late: and I end up in a self-defeating cycle of avoidance. It can be quite difficult to break out of it....

N.

Carmi said...

Hi Mike. I dropped by from Michele's to wish you luck with the search for John.

If you need any help on that front, let me know.

A lawyer/journalist: hmm, I like the sound of that. My partner has a BA in Journalism and an LLB - it's a very cool combination of skills. Whatever route you take, you'll make hay along the way, I'm sure. You always do.