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Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Beginning

I've decided to leave the posts from the previous uses of this blog (book reviewing, etc). This decision is mostly based on the fact that this blog is a transition, and that includes the transition I've decided to make within myself. Coincidentally, the first thing I have decided to write about includes a book, but I'll get to that later.

I am currently a Junior at Point Park University, studying Psychology. I hope to also earn a degree in Elementary Education, and probably a masters in either concentration or both. The professors in the Psych department at PPU are amazing, to say the least, and they have opened my mind to the possibilities that empathy holds. This is truly the beginning of my story. As a freshman, I entered into Point Park thinking I was better than everybody in my hometown. I had a scholarship, I was accepted to a private university, and I was going to do big things. Homesickness quickly knocked me down quite a few pegs, even though home was just about the last place I wanted to be. Thankfully, I was "rescued" by the wonderful (former) Honors Program director, P.K., who quickly put myself and two other freshman in charge of what is known as the "Pink Feet Race" where we compete against neighboring schools to raise money for the Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer research. While this helped me get through a lot of my sadness, and kept me very busy, the Pink Feet Race wasn't the part that was most inspirational to me. When I knocked on P.K.'s door, having never met her, she was having a pow-wow of sorts with a handful of students. I must have looked like something was wrong, because she asked me if I needed to talk to her, and I told her that it was okay, I would come back because she was busy. P.K. told everybody in her office to go outside into the lobby and wait, and invited me in to sit down. After closing the door, I almost immediately burst into tears, and P.K. calmed me with some chatting about understanding  how rough transitioning to college life is. This, in my mind, is amazing, and I will remember it forever. I must also mention that I had met with the college counselor earlier in the week and she didn't help me one bit, I was hysterical, and ready to transfer to a local community college by the end of our meeting. When I met with P.K., within ten minutes I had an entire role within the college community. They depended on me to help with the Pink Feet Race, and not only that, but I had two new college connections with the other freshman working the events with me. These two people, coincidentally, have become very good friends of mine, and my life would be less without them. This all is the beginning of my transition from being snooty, to sincerely empathetic.

As I went through my college classes, most of my psychology professors really helped shape my view on the world, and I realized there is quite a bit I can do to make the world a better place. I will write about them later, as they deserve a post just for them, but for now I will discuss the teacher (and book) who really helped me get the ball rolling with my mission of "good deeds". Dr. Sean Martin (the co-author) of the book Doing Good Works! was my world literature professor. This guy is full of information, intelligence and compassion, and is truly a jack of all trades. He encouraged the class to read his book, and offered free copies to anybody who was interested. I was, of course, interested, and quickly devoured this book. While this is a small book, it is packed with really great ideas as to how to change the world a little at a time. After reading it, it comes to mind constantly as I go about my daily activities. This brings me to a few of the things I have done from  inspiration from Doing Good Works!.

This is truly an example of how small things really make a difference. During my underclassmen time at Point Park, I lived in the dorms. I went into college with a terrible boyfriend who did not support me, or care about me for that matter. As my freshman year was ending an old friend came back into my life, and I gradually realized he was a very good match for me. He, of course, already knew this, and spent a better part of three months convincing me (politely) to go out with him. After some gentle pushing by a friend, I agreed. Tony and I have been together almost two years, and I couldn't ask for a better boyfriend. He shares my opinions on good deeds, and together, I hoped me made someone's day a little better. I mentioned that I lived on campus, so that I can mention that I went home every other weekend to visit with Tony, and he brought me back to campus on Sundays. We always took the turnpike because it is faster, and one day shortly after reading Doing Good Works! I was inspired to pay the toll for the person behind us. I don't know how the recipients reacted, and I hope they were pleased. I do know, however, that I still think about that one small good deed and how good it made me feel. This is the whole point of Doing Good Works!; doing good does work. If each one of us can do just one small thing every day to help somebody out, or make others feel good, then why shouldn't we? Especially when the good deed makes us feel good, too? I have decided to try to do good deeds as much as possible, and I think everybody should. This doesn't necessarily have to cost any money; it can be as simple as a smile, or holding the door open for somebody. I challenge you to see how many good deeds you can do, just as I challenge myself. I also highly recommend that you purchase Doing Good Works!, it's a highly inspirational book, and it's something to read, share, keep, and continue sharing for a very long time.

 For now I say goodbye,

 The Fool

Doing Good Works: Small Acts That Make a Big Difference