Thursday, October 4, 2012

What is my purpose?

What are your plans after high school? What field do you want to study? Thinking about playing sports in college? These are a small portion of the regularly asked questions that I receive. Just yesterday I was interviewed for channel 97.3's player profile for the pregame show. I told him the usual thing a somewhat gifted Nebraska student might say. "I plan on going to either UNL or UNK and studying Engineering or the Medical Sciences." For others it might be Agro-Business, or Horticulture, possibly Accounting and Finance. Instead of UNK and UNL it might be Iowa, Iowa State, UNO or maybe (if you're really talented)something Ivy-Leagueish. It's a difficult thing to really think about it. I'm so used to the high school life and I should be, I've been doing it for four years now. I could think back to the time when I was just getting into elementary school, and I thought "Wow, I'm finally a first grader." I can recall doing something very similar as I entered the middle school and when high school finally came around, I thought I was a real hot shot. College will be like nothing that I have experienced so far. And I think I just might like that.

It's always been at the very back of my mind. Waiting, itching, and busting for it's time to make itself prevalent my life. Pretty soon I'm gonna have to go into scholarship mode. Filling out form after form, and turning 10:30 nights into 12:30 skids. For me, it's still a pretty unsure thing on whether or not I've narrowed my choices down to UNL or UNK just yet. I take the ACT in October and the results of that will probably have a big impact on the school I decide to attend. Actually, that's not even the biggest determining factor on my school choice. The largest, most monument, most enormously huge decision that I still have to make is whether or not I want to be a college athlete. From multiple sources, the common impression that I get is college athletics is similar to a fulltime job. You eat, breath, and sleep the sport you play, and I don't know if I want to make that kind of commitment to one thing in college. I mean, it's college! I should  be out discovering new things, people, and ideas. I should be broadening the scope of my knowledge and taking in the feel of a big city as it surges with life and modernity.

The big city life experienced there could also be something that influences the decisions of my major and of the career path that I take after undergraduate school. I love this small town and all the aspects that make it  uniquely Aurora, but what if I come to love the city even more? What if the rush of people, the tempo of daily proceedings, and the ability to make connections with important, influential people is something that I just can't pass up so easily? I hate to say it, but it's always a possibility. My purpose will change with the city, or rural life that I choose. It's like a frayed rope, the single channel that I find myself on right now is my family, my high school, and my daily life here. The end of this rope contains a thousand single fibers, or pathways that lead me to another life. I'm reaching ever closer to this frayed section and with that comes a lot of choices that I must make. A couple of these choices will contain the type of major that I choose to study in college.

It's an amazing thing to consider. You will become an expert in one field of knowledge that will help propel you towards a career, earning money, and if you're passionate, making a difference in the world. I wish someone could just show me a brochure. This brochure would include a map of the place that I will live in. It will contain a description of exactly what I do and how I do it. Simply put, it will be a guide to my life, and how I got to where I am and who the people are who I affect with my work. I've always been interested in Aerospace Engineering and the concept of flight. How do they get a 50 ton airplane soaring 30,000 feet above the earth with 100 comfortably seated people is just amazing to me. I used to watch this show on the history channel called "Ancient Aliens." It was about this theory that extraterrestrials came to the Earth many thousands of years ago and helped establish human society and had a part in shaping human history as we know it. Now, I'm not saying that this hoccus-poccus idea should be taken for truth, it's just that in some of the episodes they pointed out that in ancient texts such as the Indian Mahabhararta and the Ramayana epic poems they describe the extraterrestrial's machines and crafts in such great detail that it simply astounded me. I wanted to go out and take those ideas that we could create spaceships and "UFOs" and fly off to distant planets.

As for the medical sciences, my motivation comes from my friend Jacob, who passed away because of cancer. I know this isn't the only story of a young person losing their promising life to this disease. There has to be a cure out there, and I want to be a part of something that finds the solution to such a widespread problem. I might want to invest my talents and abilities in the field of cancer study and biomedical engineering. Or maybe something will pop up in college that is completely and utterly unexpected. Maybe I'll turn out to be a farmer. Who know? I certainly don't.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


When faced with the question, where am I, there are a multitude of things that I might tell you. I could probably tell you that I was born in Reno, Nevada. I could mention that I have been raised in Aurora, Nebraska for the last 15 years of my life. I would definitely tell you that I am a proud student here at Aurora High School. But all those facts would not add up to create a complete picture. All the things that are simply me would not be included in that list. I tend to have a quarky side that most people aren't lucky enough to see. I get side tracked VERY easily. I think would be fair to say that I am the undisputed leader of the Procrasti-Nation. But to be completely honest, I would have to tell you that I come from family. The source of all my attributes that are exclusively Alex are brought up from a wellspring of family. Through the ins and the outs, the ups and the downs, the lefts and the rights my family is always there. I suppose it doesn't really make a lot sense to answer the question where am I, with the statement family, so let's just say I am at "home."

Home would constitute a wide variety of things for me. From cornfields, football, New Zealand, Ford, Cadillac, and Dodge vehicles, to turf fields, family gatherings, Ostakaka, Pecan pie, to Playstation 3, "That 70's Show", our cabin at Ericson Lake, and all the way back around to giant glasses of water, Swedish traditions, and wacky out-of-date shirts. These items might not mean a whole lot to the average person, but for me it provides a sense of home, of family. We always place a great weight of importance on grades and who we are hanging out with. My parents would always tell me when I was younger, hang out with those people who have the same interests and desires that you do. Don't let the people who are around you dictate your future. I think that so far, I have chosen the right group. They may not always be an orderly crowd, or the guys that you want to take home to the parents, but they make me laugh, and I know that each one of them has a certain desire for their future.

In our senior year, we are all that that metaphorical "Fork in the Road" of our lives. There is one path that everyone wants to take. It's the path that our school, community, family, and friends all want us to venture down. Writing a blog post about where I am would not be a meaningful lesson if we don't include the things that we are preparing for in this place we are in. Down that one path lays hard work. This will probably include college, graduate school for some, and an honest way to make a living. I am standing at this crossroad and I can look down that road. I can see all the benefits of this life. I can see returning back to Aurora. I can see success. And if I pull out my binoculars and peer deep down this path, I can see a family of my own.  I'm not saying that this trail won't include failure, because it will. Where I am at right now, the consensus is that it's not about how many times you get knocked down but how many times that you get back up. My family has strived that point. Over and over and over and over. Like the quote I used in my last blog posting says, we are a product of our environment. I truly enjoy this environment that I am in; I wouldn't have it any other way.  This first path is the far more difficult road to take. What lies at the end of the other road is a lot less favorable than what lies at the end of the first. Whether it be laziness, lack of effort, lack of skill, lack of determination, or maybe just plain bad luck, this is the far more traveled. It involves putting your goals to the side, and "going through the motions." Repeated disappointments don't necessarily characterize this path. It's the consistent submission to these disappointments.

I am at home right now. Sitting in a black leather chair typing on this keyboard, which is missing one of its Shift keys. (Makes it very hard to capitalize letters sometimes) I am in a Stucco house, on 100 Wexford Street, with a giant glass of water and a blue paper in front of me that tells of how I'm supposed to complete this assignment. But that's just the physical part of my location. It doesn't tell you the ingrained attitudes and goals that come with the family, school, and community. I can only hope to delve deeper into these ideals, while maintaining that sense of place that every individual must have.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Who am I?

You are a product of your environment, so choose the best environment that will develop you towards your objective. Analyze your life in terms of your environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success—or are they holding you back?”
-W. Clement Stone

When people ask me “What do you want to do with your life?” I cannot answer them with a solid statement. I don’t know exactly where I am going, but I know where I have been. I come from Aurora and I will never deny it. 
The fact of the matter is, I will always be a Husky. Wherever life may take me, my identity as an Auroran will always follow. I am proud of being raised in the Midwest, and especially proud of being raised in Aurora, Nebraska. A certain sense of pride has been instilled upon me. It’s the reason why I get up in the morning. It’s the reason I go all out in every athletic competition that I am privileged enough to be a part of. You could tell me that being brought up in this part of the country makes me less intellectual, or less artistic, but I would beg to differ. I am flat out proud of being from Aurora. That is why I put the “A” on my deep map, because it’s the central figure of my life and will always be a huge part of my personality.
Out of the many things that Aurora is well known for, at the top of that list is our reputation for being hard workers. We commit to what we do, plain and simple. Entering high school I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I soon learned that varsity athletics is an enormous step up from anything else! The amount of time and effort invested in these activities is monumental. No more hour and a half practices on Tuesday and Thursday. It’s 3 hours a day, every day. When it comes to football, there are three words that could effectively sum up our program. Tradition. Discipline. Unity. These principles have created a calling card for Aurora. If I were from another town in the surrounding area, I know exactly which town I would respect.
Another item you might discover on my Deep Map is my Ford. We have been through some tough times together I would say. She’s my baby, and it kills me to see her all bent out of shape right now. You see, about a month ago, I was driving out by Philips around two o’clock at night. My front right tire blew out and my golden F150 was sent fishtailing all across that country road. It is quite difficult to maintain control of a vehicle swerving miles at 40 miles an hour on gravel. The truck was sent careening into the ditch, where thankfully, there happened to be some barbed wire. Barbed wire does wonders for rubber tires as you might know. The back tire was popped as well, along with some ugly scratches to the left side of the vehicle, and a bent rear bumper. We plan on getting it fixed down at Todd’s body shop within the next week. Its funny because my mom now drives my truck to work now and I get to take the "Manvan" as we call it. Its a 2000 Dodge white minivan that has soccer mom written all over it.
Speaking of my mother, her side of the family is Swedish. Her grandfather was a full blooded Swede and came to the United States in the early 20th century. You can see the cookbook that contains one of my familes Christmas tradition recipes. While Tina's side comes from northern Europe, my dad was born and raised in New Zealand, which is pretty much on the opposite side of the world.
Among the gold truck, and the words tradition, discipline, and unity, you will see a very important group of letters to me. JP3. It stands for Jacob Peters, who was number 3 on the football field. He was my best friend and in the winter of our sophomore year he discovered that he had T-Cell lymphoma. Through more than half a year he battled. Radiation, chemotherapy, and rehabilitation never stopped him. He even attended weightlifting on and off in the summer. This was a dedicated kid who never gave up. Sadly, on November 16, he passed away. Jacob was my best friend since the 1st grade. He was influential on my involvement in sports, attendance in the weight room, and outlook on life. Life is not a just a simple game of rights and wrongs or ups and downs. I know it sounds cliche but you have to live like this is your last day. Life is a network. A network of relationships, and inner feelings. You have to say what you mean, and mean exactly what you say because you never know when it will be the last time you utter those words. Jacob taught me that. At times he could be a bit overbearing and pushy. But i know that it was only because he wanted you to reach your full potential as not only an athlete, but as a person. He saw the good in every single one of us and knew that with a little encouragement your charachter would develop.
These items on my deep map all represent who I am very well, and the encircling thing is my hometown and friends.
The people and things that have steered my path over the last 17 years mean the world team me. . We sometimes take those we love for granted and when one of these people leaves our life, we always notice the hole that they left. So thats why I chose the song "If Heaven wasn't so Far Away," by Justin Moore. If only we could see the people we lost just one more time what would we say? I know that I would apologize. I know that I would reminisce. I know that if I was given the opportunity to see my grandmother, or Jacob, one last time I would make it count.