I’m at a Phi Theta Kappa event this weekend, and while I am often frustrated with a lack of organization on the part of my local chapter, I have to say that the events I’ve attended have largely been well run and mostly interesting. This particular event is on the campus of Oklahoma State University, the rival of my hometown University of Oklahoma, so it’s a little strange to see everyone wandering around in garb you rarely see in my neck of the woods, but that’s okay. I’m a tolerant sort. And, I’ve never been up here before, but what little I’ve seen of the campus so far has been very nice.
The main speaker of the evening was one of the professors here at OSU, from their journalism department (though the department actually has a different name now.) Anyway, when she was 22, just barely graduated from this same institution, she was in a horrible car accident that left her paralyzed. She told us—from her wheelchair—a little bit about her life since that accident. The accident happened in May; by December of that same year, she was working in her chosen field. She has not only worked consistently since then in various forms of advertising, but completed both a masters and a doctorate to go along with her original undergraduate degree.
She’s pretty impressive, though she doesn’t really see her accomplishments as all that spectacular; she said it would’ve been harder to just lay around and wonder what was going to happen next, so she took charge.
She had several thoughtful anecdotes to share, but the single most important things I think she said tonight was, “defeat is not permanent; it’s just an opportunity to try again.” So many times when things don’t go just the way we planned, we assume they will never work out. Or we just sit around and feel sorry for ourselves, which really doesn’t accomplish anything at all. I think we could all probably learn a thing or two from her.