Let’s Get Started

Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect. 

-Alan Cohen

I realized today that, almost every time I was going to start a new endeavor, I had a last-minute ‘gut’ feeling that I didn’t want to do it after all and had to fight myself to give it a try. Years ago, on the morning when I was supposed to come up to Nashville to interview for a job, I had stayed up late the night before and when the alarm rang, I remember thinking, “Why do I want to drive up there? I don’t know anyone in that city. I don’t even like country music. I have a good shot at a teaching job in Georgia. I’ll just take that.” Finally, I rolled out of bed, telling myself that I would regret it if I didn’t at least see what sort of job it was. So I drove up to Nashville and have been at NSCC ever since.

Years later, I was about to start a summer doctoral program in Pennsylvania. Suddenly, I had that same ‘gut’ feeling, the one that said why would I want to spend all that money on tuition, an apartment, and the money lost by not teaching at my own college that summer?  It would be much smarter to stay home. But by then, I had learned that I simply do not have a trustworthy gut. It is just a feeling I have to battle every time I start something new. So I drove up to Pennsylvania, and I have never regretted earning a doctorate in English.

For new students, I’m sure that there are a hundred reasons why this might not be the best time to start college: 

  • The weather. Why not start in the summer when I won’t have to battle the snow and ice every day?
  • The family. Maybe I should wait until my kids are older, in school, out of school, grown, divorced and moved back in.
  • The job. I work too many hours. My job is too hard; I’m too tired to study after a long day in the office. My hours are too irregular.
  • Age. I’m too young. I need to see if my music career works out first. I’m too old. The other students will think I’m their grandmother.

Any of these might be good reasons not to come to college at this particular time. (Well, except for being too old. You’re never too old to learn!) Only you know if you are facing a real obstacle or if you’re throwing up obstacles because you’re afraid. 

But if you’re here, don’t keep debating about whether the conditions are perfect. Dive in and start to work.


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