It’s not about the destination so you better enjoy the journey…

Sue Beckingham’s #blideo challenge accepted!  It seems that Steve Wheeler has come up with another way to get us all blogging about education.  The call to action is to view the video and write a response to the video that connects it to education in some way.  I will then have to select a new video a pass the challenge on to three more people.

Here is Sue’s blog post where the challenge lived:

And the tweet that let me know that it I had been challenged:

Tweet from @suebecks

The video below was chosen by Sue.  When I watched it I immediately thought of my own PhD journey.

The Journey vs. the Destination:

Before I entered the PhD program, I was asked by my future mentor “Why do you want to get a PhD?”  My response was probably not what was expected.  I didn’t expect it to transform my future or my career. It was something that I felt I had to do. When I first entered college after graduating high school at 16 years old, I was too young and naive to navigate the social and academic differences between high school and college. I failed miserably and let myself think for a period of time that I couldn’t “do” college level work. I let myself believe that I was a failure and I was on a mission to prove myself wrong.

Image Credit: Gary Traynor CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This all changed on that special day when I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane for the first time. This day changed the way I think about failure. When I was dropping from the aircraft at terminal velocity, my chin strap came loose on my helmet and began beating me in the face. My eyes welled up with tears due to the pain of the chin strap hitting me and at that point, I could no longer see the altimeter or my jump masters who were giving me the signal to pull my ripcord.

When I arrived safely on the ground, I learned that my ripcord was in someone else’s hand. I could have thrown in the towel and let failure and fear control my destiny, but it was this day when I recognized that failure is a learning opportunity. I became determined that I was going to become a certified Accelerated Freefall Skydiver and I did just that. I also decided that it was time to go back to school and finish my degree.

You see, I realized that the goal of jumping out of the airplane wasn’t to get down to the ground, but rather to master the art of the free fall. Enjoy the ride… It isn’t always about where the ride stops, it is about the fact that you rode it. 

The video of the roller coaster starting off in the dark made me think of the lack of knowing one’s own path. There is a certain amount of finding your way in every educational process. You need to learn the rules of the road and figure it out. As the coaster comes into the light, it is much like when rapport is established and trust begins to form.  You are able to clarify expectations and can begin to see what is ahead of you.  And the big climb… this is the FEAR, there is fear of failure, fear of success, and so much more. When we are getting close to a difficult point in any process we may second guess our choices and wish we could get off the ride.

In educational programs, we are not strapped in tight and it is easier to get off the rollercoaster. Staying on the ride during these difficult times and when other distractions (life) get in the way, is what separates the completer from those who do not finish.  One group is no smarter than another, the finishers are just more stubborn IMHO.

When we see the roller coaster come into the station, we realize that we are right back where we started. I recently posted that I had attended my last class EVER but I really can’t make that claim. I’m a lifelong learner and my learning journey is just beginning. While I may have taken my last class in this PhD program, there may be more adventures on my learning journey.

Certainly the destination is not nearly as exciting as the middle part 🙂

The #blideo challenge continues.

I extend the challenge to anyone who wishes to respond. However, playing by the rules, I challenge three people @nomadwarmachine @courosa and @kevinhoneycutt. I know you will enjoy this video challenge.

Here is the video that I have selected for you!

2 comments for “It’s not about the destination so you better enjoy the journey…

  1. August 17, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    The more I get to know you Whitney, the more I realise we have in common! Loved this post.

  2. August 17, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Wow! A free fall master! I’m impressed. I remember vividly the first (and only) time I jumped out a perfectly safe airplane. Those five seconds (or less) of panic before my parachute opened … it was a great high at the time (I was all of 19 years old) … but in some ways it is the fear that I remember more than the journey to back to the ground.

    I love your reflection on your PhD journey … in many ways it really is about the journey rather than the destination … who knows where it will lead!

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