Picture of students using computers in the library

These Sand Shark Places

October 14, 2013

Go ahead and let your ears swim into John Mayer’s “Stop this Train” from his "Continuum" album. Let the wisdom of his daddy’s words sink into your bones: “Don't stop this train, don't for a minute change the place you're in…” because whether you feel “decentered” or hopelessly alone you are surely not out of place. Submerge yourself in all you can learn, rediscover your place, each place, work place, school place, this beautiful Beaufort place…and enjoy the ride, you may be delightfully surprised.

1. continuum: a continuous sequence in which adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from each other, although the extremes are quite distinct.

I was digging through a memory box stacked in the bottom of my closet. I was looking for a book of quotes I compiled years ago… I did not find what I expected. It is funny because in my rifling through the container I could not make sense where my brain was at when I kept such items and notes, such memory filled little replicas overflowing with love of my journey thus far. Did I know I would look back upon these trinkets and words and find inspiration, or events unknowingly foreshadowed in each? What was it that compelled me to collect these ones and hoist them away in a box, in the bottom of my closet, stacked beneath sewing kits, knitting aspirations, empty purses, baby-blue rollerblades—all held steadily in place by a lonesome guitar case?

I stared at them, these inanimate objects which all of the sudden were really not inanimate at all, each I envisioned pleading with me long ago as I took them to their storage: “Please! Pay attention to me! I will teach you great and abundant things!!--” and I instead put you in a box--must I have had some sight of your value, was there some inclination?

I found myself in moments staring upon the memorabilia wishing I had heard its beckoning, or pleas, its warnings or guidance-- and then I paused, because had I heard it, or even quite implausibly: understood it at the time, perhaps it would not have the far reaching, astounding beauty it has in the moment it sits there in my hands, years later, staring back at me, reaching into the depths of my heart; after the disasters, after the great lessons learned, after the life altering fearsome and wild adventures...

You must know or sense it too, I at least hope you may, and am confident you will, for I cannot help but think it is only human and maybe, just maybe, this is the root that fuels us to grow. It was only but a month ago I thought the dreams I poured myself into were, albeit still part of me (still in the vicinity), but part of me to remain in storage. To remain behind the new aspirations and trialing ideas, secured with empty things and dust. Yet today they have not only been rediscovered, and reawakened, and reunited, but are being freed into my thoughts, tempered with insights and wisdoms and understandings far exceeding the possibilities that I once thought were or could possibly ever be.

Escort me on this train ride if you will: The Old English and Latin etymology of the word school is derived from several words defining a place. A place of instruction. A place of learning. A place of lecture. A place of discussion. A place for teachers and students. The concept of place is quite mystical and it is perhaps being far less relished today than it once was amid the heightened technologies and possibilities. Yet in this place, school—is where I have discovered and rediscovered places I thought were lost. In my Interdisciplinary Research Methods class with Dr. Gordon Haist I am learning cognitive decentering—let me brief you for the “ah ha” moment:

“COGNITIVE DECENTERING: the intellectual capacity to consider a variety of other perspectives and thus perceive reality more accurately, process information more systematically, and solve problems more efficiently. The term decentering denotes the ability to shift deliberately among alternative perspectives and to bring each to bear upon a complex problem. This type of thinking allows the student to make connection between disciplines and theories, between practical problems and accumulated knowledge, and between a society’s assumptions and those of other cultures. Above all cognitive decentering enables interdisciplinarians to evaluate the usefulness of various disciplines to understanding complex problems.”

Repko, Allen F. "Tracing the Origins of Interdisciplinarity." Interdisciplinary research: process and theory. Volume 2. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2008. 40. Print.

The school I attend offers cognitive decentering, or rather, the school I attend offers the intellectual capacity to perceive reality more accurately, process information more systematically, solve problems more efficiently, the school I attend offers the ability to shift among perspectives to bear upon a complex problem, and allows connections to be made between disciplines and theories, practical problems and accumulated knowledge...

USCB has shed light upon all the places I have been, all the places I am in, and all the places I desire to go. My education is something extraordinarily valuable to me. It brings new meaning to objects stowed away in my closet, it brings new meaning to the overlooked treasures in life, new meaning to me, this world, and all the places in my heart.

Dr. Haist for the past several weeks has been guiding my two peers and myself through an extensive journey sketching with us the maps of our future. We each bring to the table differing pursuits:

  • business
  • psychology and sociology
  • communication and theater

Yet we find ourselves united so extensively; our pursuit is not a lonely one-- we are discovering the base colors of our pursuits are just that: the base (highly important in foundation and substance but rich in so much undiscovered possibility). It is to our delight that we may absorb the subtle tones of the other discipline “bases” to find the perfect hue that will fill in the sketched map of our futures that we are designing. It is constantly changing, and constantly growing, it is constantly complex and constantly simplistic, it is passion breeding and the fire of an education. I would not want to be anywhere else other than school. It is a place that frees the stowed away wonders of my mind. We have something extraordinary here, and I would not change my place for the world.

1. stowed away memorabilia: Hallmark Birthday Card:

 “Daughter,

You are the author of your own life. It’s up to you to dream it, imagine it, sketch it, shape it, build it, go after it, and make it happen. And then color it in with bright, shining, shades of joy, and deep lasting shades of meaning that are yours and yours alone. No one else can know the dreams you dream or the strengths you have within you that will help you make your dreams come true. No one else needs to. Because they’re yours. And so is today.”

 Yours Truly: "Don't Stop this Train" Sand Shark,

                                                                          Erin Dailey