Oberlin Blogs

Stay Ready

March 25, 2020

Tim Martin ’22

Adjustment is a part of life. I learned that as a kid growing up, as I lived in nine different states and attended three different high schools and middle schools. During that time period in my life, I expected to be in a new state every year and knew that after around nine months of being in one place that the winds of change were near. By that I mean I anticipated that we would move again soon. While I could always anticipate my family moving growing up, very few anticipated that colleges across the nation would have to send their students home and move to online platforms.

Sometimes, that is how life works though and you have to react to what is going on around you. While right now it may seem like all you can do is roll with the punches, I promise there are still opportunities to turn nothings into somethings.

It is important that you look at yourself and figure out what it is you hope to accomplish during this time in your life, whether that be growing your business or improving your mental health. It is hard to accomplish anything in life if you don’t know what your goals are. With that said, let’s discuss what I have been doing to not only accomplish future goals but also entertain myself while social distancing.

While I am an economics major at Oberlin, I am passionate about writing. Having an extended break from school has afforded me the opportunity to not only do more creative writing but also post on my blog more. I have been working toward two goals in terms of writing.

The first goal is to release my second book of short stories and poems. The second goal is to release a full-length novel. This extended break has allowed me to get a tremendous amount of work done on my first goal and I decided to share with you one of the short stories that will be in my upcoming book!

I told the wind to call my name five times a day. The first time it called me I found a hole in the ground and hid with the rabbits. They taught me to be beautiful when I can be seen, but never trust someone that tries to step in my direction whether it be heavy or light. The rabbits taught me never to stray too far from your burrow so you can stay warm when the world is cold. The second time the wind called me I hid in the trees with the birds. The birds taught me sometimes you have to let yourself fall from the sky and trust that you can fly.

The birds taught me always to make sure your family is fed even if you have to find the food and prepare it for them. The third time the wind called me I hid in the water with the fish. The fish taught me how to breathe when there is no air. The fish taught me that when the world puts a ceiling on your potential there is always room to dig in the basement. The fourth time the wind called me I hid in a cave with the bears. The bears taught me patience. It won’t always be my turn, but when it is, be ready for my opportunity.

The fifth time the wind called me I stood there frozen. The wind asked me why I had asked to be called five times if I was just going to hide. I told the wind I wanted to talk to them but I was afraid of the winds of seasons change. The wind told me that when things change, hold on to the ones I cherish the most and let everything change around me while we stay the same. If you tell someone I love you hold on to them through the pain.”

If you enjoyed that story and want to read more of my work, then you should check my book out! One of the things I love the most about Oberlin is the strong creative writing department. I know many fellow students that have had their work published and have gone on to receive amazing fellowship and employment opportunities upon graduation. As I progress through college, I may even decide to double major in creative writing and economics.

When I haven’t been writing I have been training for sports. Whether that be sprint work, lifting weights or footwork drills I have been outside in the Florida heat working on my craft. One of the most popular sayings in sports is, “If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.”

I am a firm believer in this in all aspects of life. Even if you don’t play sports, use this time as an opportunity to get ready for your next step in life, whether that be tightening up your job interviewing skills, polishing up your resume, or practicing for the MCAT. It is often said you have to put in ten thousand hours to perfect something, use this time toward perfecting what you want to do with the rest of your life.

Another thing I have been doing during this time is reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X. The high school I went to didn’t do an adequate job of educating the students about black leaders. This leads to a lot of misinformation for generations of people as the only information they end up hearing about a leader like Malcolm X is through word of mouth. Therefore, I have decided to take it upon myself to learn about the life of Malcolm X through reading his autobiography. I may post an opinion piece on the book once I finish reading it, so keep a lookout for that!

My best advice to you is to maintain a positive attitude throughout this process. Every day you have to wake up and be ready to work toward something. The only way to get anywhere in life is through hard work. Sometimes what you work toward may just be creating a better mental space for yourself, and that is more than OK! Try closing your eyes and visualizing your goals and the steps you need to take to reach them. Once you are done visualizing, open your eyes and do what you can to get closer to your goals today!

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