Rick Manelius

a little bit about a lot of things...
Telephone booth in a field - strep72 - flickr

Heeding the Call

I remember how confused I was as a child when someone would say “nature’s calling” and then they’d excuse themselves. Only later did I find out that it was a silly euphemism for “going to the bathroom.” It was also silly because I never used to believe in spirits, God, mother nature, or anything beyond what could be measured/verified/scientificied (not a real word). I was an atheistic and didn’t really know what the purpose was of this life we all seemed to get plopped into.

I’ve since changed my tune for reasons that are too numerous to list here. Now I’m a believer in signs. Now I believe that (somehow) people, events, or situations appear at the right moment to guide us along our purpose in life.

A hand passing a gavel

Pass the Gavel

Getting through MIT was probably the most stressful thing I've experienced in life. Of course, I clearly didn't learn my lesson the first time when I decided to spend 6 more years there to get my PhD! What can I say... I have my mom's stubbornness and I hate to lose. One phrase in particular kept me focused through the pain was the often heard quote — "MIT is a terrible place to be, but a great place to be from." The idea being that all your hard work and efforts would be rewarded once you got through the sleepless nights filled with problem sets, exam studying, and trying to be the best among the best. Still, I'm learning there are better ways to succeed in life, with whatever definition of success you like, without having to make it is as difficult as possible. This article describes one incredibly powerful idea/experience that helped me out tremendously during my time at MIT — Pass the Gavel... a yearly tradition that occurred during my fraternity's yearly retreat. 

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