Letter from the Editor: principle investments in the future of UCC students
From the Editor’s Desk
Endings are times of reflection. It can be easy to get swept into the excitement of graduation and the glee of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of late-night study sessions and piles of homework. However, it is also important to look back on the things we have learned during this time.
Lately, I have considered a quote from Benjamin Franklin in “The Way to Wealth” from 1758: “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
We may hand over hundreds of thousands of dollars to institutions, but in the end, we are also the benefactors of our own investment and experience.
We may not always feel this way when looking in the mirror at three in the morning with slightly disheveled hair and eye sockets that more resemble a raccoon than a high achieving scholar. Yet, there are things which remain true, nonetheless.
Reflection is how we understand ourselves and how we adjust our decision-making processes. This is vital to us as humans. After all, there must be an explanation for our neocortex, our brain’s center for reflection, memory and attention, and the half of our brain’s volume it takes up.
As we near the end in this stage of our lives and move onto the next, whether transferring to a four-year institution or entering the workforce, reflecting back on this experience at community college shows struggles and challenges that highlight principles we can take with us.
As I reflect on my own time at UCC and my time as the managing editor for The Mainstream, I want to share five distinct principles to encourage my fellow students: progression, rest, integrity, sacrifice and resolution.
Each one of us is a continuing work in progress. Learning is also a life-long endeavor that is never truly complete. We all should continue to progress, seeking new challenges to continually grow. Our greatest asset from UCC should be the tenacity and skill to be innovative, curious and willing to ask hard questions and then go and seek answers.
That is not to say that running full speed ahead for the rest of our lives is the best option. If I have learned anything from my time in college, it is that knowing how to productively rest is the key to a successful life and career both professionally and academically.
Without rest one cannot sustain this progress for long. The misconception that rest equates to laziness is inaccurate. Rest is not idleness. In our journey of progress, resting is a tactical action necessary for proper stewardship of both one’s body and one’s mind.
The third principle, integrity, is a choice. This is a quintessential value in my own life, as it breeds honesty and excellence. Many of us have had our integrity tested during this time in college, particularly as we have experienced distance learning with unsupervised tests and recorded lectures, but much communication and compassion relies on the honor system to function.
Integrity goes beyond avoiding illegal practices like plagiarism or lying as to why an assignment or class was missed. Integrity is the conscious choice to create good character. Choosing to live and act with integrity gives us more benefits than cutting corners: self-pride, freedom from guilt and trust and respect from others. Those things open doors.
The next principle is sacrifice. We have all made sacrificed our money, time, sleep, recreation and more, so that we could achieve great things here at UCC. This will not be the only time we will make personal sacrifices for success. However, we must identify what can be sacrificed for the greater endeavor and what cannot.
Although, this past year was a year of hardship and sacrifice, we still triumphed. We have watched ourselves, the people we love, and strangers sacrifice to achieve greater community and personal goals related to health, equality and justice. As we boldly move into a future that feels largely unknown, let the actions in this time teach on sacrifice and be the parable for the future as we break barriers and build lasting improvements.
Finally, perhaps the most difficult of these principles, I reflect on the idea of resolution. This is not the kind where one resolves a conflict, though that has importance and relevance to our futures. This is the act of resolve.
We should always stive for growth, yet it is equally important to maintain one’s resolutions. Be flexible with opinions and eager to learn yet stay unwavering in the knowledge of who you are and who you were created to be in this world. There have been times in my academic career that I stood in my own resolve, and it was never easy. However, as we move into the world and into our own industries, we must remember to solidify within ourselves our purpose and those values that we are unwilling to compromise.
The world will ask you to move; there will be those who try to push you off course. In those times, remember that defending what we think and believe as much as we challenge those same thoughts and beliefs is worthwhile.
I have confidence that my fellow classmates can find these same principles in their experience at UCC. I also have confidence that those continuing their time at UCC will find them in their journey as well.
Moreover, I have confidence that Savannah Peterson, the incoming editor for The Mainstream will exemplify them in her time during the 2021-2022 school year. Continuing following along with her and her staff in the next year to invest in the experience of the next cohort of UCC students.
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