So, not to ruin your last days of summer, I just thought I’d break it to you gently. School starts in just a few weeks. If you’re like me, you’ve got mixed emotions. I dread getting up early and going to bed early. I fear not being able to keep up with the new schedule. I tremble at the thought of having to work. Pushing aside those feelings, I know from personal experience that life is what you make it. A person can choose to be miserable—or not. It’s all about attitude.
I care a lot about my journalism students and the way they handle their assignments. I’ve already had a few of them text me this summer about leads they have for future stories. Man, that excites me! The last thing an editor or adviser wants to hear is “I can’t think of anything to write.” I look at this way. When I’m armed with a pen and a reporter’s notepad, I have a license to slip in a new world with every assignment. And I’ve gotten to do some pretty fun things, especially when I was writing for several Christian music magazines. I’ve seen what it looks like from inside a mosh pit. I’ve attended posh *sniff, sniff* parties to celebrate celebrity achievements. I’ve eaten from the spread reserved for the media backstage at awards shows. I’ve had FUN on assignment.
If you like to write and you like adventure, then I’m sure that at least once you have experience the adrenaline rush that comes with being on assignment.
When I’m on assignment, I like going into stealth mode. Again, there really is a certain rush that comes with it. Once I was in a HUGE crowd in downtown Nashville, and I needed to get to the stage to get photos. I’m 5”. I am not intimidating. I am also not a quitter. I HAD to get to the stage. I saw a Coca Cola man delivering his wares, and I fell right in step with him. He took me right up to the stage. Don’t ask me why a Coca Cola man would be pushing a cart in the middle of thousands. Call it serendipity. Well, you could call it a terrorist attempt. Hmmm. Back then the thought never crossed my mind. Fortunately, I believe the man was just delivering Coke. The soda. The real thing.
On another occasion, I needed an interview with a California band. I couldn’t get through via the publicist, the manager, the A&R people. So I played private investigator. I tracked down the drummer’s MOTHER and sent her a box of Goo Goo candy bars from Tennessee. She set up the interview for me. How cool is that?
So you’re going back to school, back to all those nouns and verbs and formulas and theorems and historical facts and biological details and definitions and….Am I depressing you? I’ll stop now. The point is I urge you to make whatever you are doing an adventure.
Before I taught high school, I taught a couple of English classes at MTSU. Yeah, I know that was a long time ago. I wanted my students to feel the spirit of adventure that comes with writing. Thus, I asked them to people watch and write a detailed descriptive paper. Wouldn’t that be fun? Wouldn’t you like to go to the mall and just sit and watch? Well, my student took the assignment a little too far, and for a week he STALKED a girl he secretly admired. I am very fortunate to say neither of us was arrested. But don’t you know he had a good time until I told him that he could go to jail! (I am not, I repeat, NOT encouraging stalking.)
I’m simply saying you can choose to be miserable—or not. Check your attitude. Everything you do is an assignment—maybe some of these mundane assignments are even divine appointments from God.
How will you handle it?
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done to complete an assignment for school, newspaper or otherwise? Tell us about it.