Thursday, 15 September 2016

On Understanding Trauma

A post I made today for an online abnormal psychology class regarding trauma:

Undoubtedly the reason for traumatic research being such a controversial topic is because it involves the extremes of the human experience. The lowest dales of life are encapsulated by the word trauma. It has the power to bring kings to their knees, cause empires to fall and, on a more personal level, for love to flee and to be replaced by hate and fear. Whenever one deals with such extremes in the human experience it is no easy task to find calm, reasonable, well-thought out thoughts about the events that have occurred. Traumatized humans seem to regress to more base levels of functioning, if you will, to more reptilian brain cognitions. Not that reptilian brain functions are bad, in fact, without them life, as we know it, would be impossible. However, the reptilian brain has the tendency to not view life for all that it is. This brain has a manner of viewing life in a boxed, narrow and restricted manner. Therefore we need calmness, patience and inquiry into all facets of experience to behold the picture in its exorbitant, contradicting beauty more fully. In the heat of trauma or in its destructive wake, such multifaceted inquiry can be one of the hardest things imaginable to do as it may very well involve facing up to realities which are not easy to accept, but which need to be entertained in due time for true healing and growth to occur - which is what, in the end, we all seek and which is the best we can hope for after the whole world seemed to have collapsed one fell swoop.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Rise With the Welterweights

Today is a really special day in the 53 year long story of my university.  Our football team managed to pull of the biggest upsets in all of college football in the last 5 years according to an ESPN FPI poll. 
The moment our victory was secured, I, along with my track teammates who were following the game, were in raptures.  It was one of the best experiences I have had at my almost four years at the University of South Alabama. 

The massive upstaging had me thinking (as most things seem to) about a choice that seems to come upon most of us at one point or another in our time here on Earth.  The choice between joining something that is already renowned, already successful and already making big changes in the world or going there where there is not a beaten path, there where there is no long road yet taken.
This is a decision I, like many of you all, faced back in 2012 when I was in high school deciding which university I want to be my future Alma Mater.  There were prestigious, world-famous names on my shortlist of possible universities.  Yet, among the best and brightest, there was a name I had never heard before I was contacted by the selfsame name - South Alabama.  Chances are that if you don't have any vested interest in the university you may never have heard about it. 
Those who know my story know that I picked South through directive of God.  However, after being there for almost 4 years, I would make the same choice were it to redo it.

There is something to said for falling in line with the elite, but I would like to think there is something even more to be said for joining the welterweights.  You see, a big institution does not need you as it has an everlong list of distinguished persons and there is always someone willing to sign on.  A smaller institution that is one the rise has more imperative to want you.  I would say that there is more glory in helping something rise to greatness than merely keeping something in the same state it has always been.
Seeing South Alabama grow from 2013 to 2016 has been an incredible experience thusfar.  To think, we have people still involved with the university who were here at its creation.  Imagine that, you saw something go from a thought in your head or a few words on a scrap of paper to an institution that enriches the lives of tens of thousands.  That, I think, is a sense of accomplishment that is not easily matched.

I, for one, believe that the best place to achieve this feeling of accomplishment is among the less renowned.  Take something and make it great.  Climb the long ladder of success.  Be a pioneer.  You may not see the fruits of your labour now, or even in your lifetime, but the thousands and the millions that will follow, most certainly will relish the fruit of your labour. 

Do it for them.