This I believe …

Professor Gerry Lanosga, who teaches media law and ethics at Ball State University, gave an interesting assignment to my class on Monday. It was based on Edward R. Murrow’s radio program called “This I believe.”

What do I believe in?

I was instantly intrigued by this assignment, and I — surprisingly enough for a non-graphics project — couldn’t wait to start working on it. So after I safely maneuvered my team of Facebook friends through the Oregon Trail and beat Kelly Dickey to Oregon City, I set to work on designing a new desktop background for myself that illustrates the one of the things I value most in life … independence.

This value not only relates to the perspective the pioneers had — risking the lives of friends, family and their own to journey some place new in hopes of making a better living — but it also relates to my feelings about myself.

While working at The Daily News Sunday night, I overheard one of my friends mentioning that eating alone in a restaurant or campus dining hall means that person must be a “loser.”

Honestly, I feel the exact opposite about this perspective. I view the person calmly and willingly eating alone as a strong person who is not intimidated to simply be himself. Sure, it’s nice to be able to eat with friends, but people should not be looked down upon for having the willpower to sit at a table alone. To me, that depicts someone with strength.

I also view independence as being able to differentiate between positive peer pressure and negative peer pressure. It’s not “copycatting” when one aspires to emulate a friend’s success in school. Let others influence you to be the best you can. It’s healthy to have some competition. Who knows? You might even bond over it.

Lastly, I view independence as understanding myself. I’m a workaholic with an inconsistent biological clock (AKA: sleep schedule). My first word was cat; I’ve always adored cats and always will. Call me “Cat Lady” if you will. There is no shame to my love. I learn things quickly and am a creature of habit. I can be easy to anger, but I’m also fiercely passionate about the things that I love (Exhibit A: Cats; Exhibit B: Design; Exhibit C: Work) and equally as protective to those I love (Exhibit A: Mummsy; Exhibit B: my brother; Exhibit C: my friends).

And among many other things that I have learned about myself and independence since I began my education at Ball State University nearly three years ago, is that independence is every bit as exciting, scary, awesome, awful, wonderful, depressing, adrenaline-inducing and more than I ever thought it would be when I dreamt of what life would be like at this age.

Now it’s your turn

What do you believe in?

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