Monday, May 23, 2011

One-a-Days I: Scatological Destiny

B-school is winding down and I'll soon be free of the soul-crushing grasp of all things quantitative and horrible (oh ya, I'll also soon be in China for 3 weeks!). So with the end of The Good Year somewhere on the horizon, I've decided to ramp up production. The goal: A post a day until I skip town.

Today's installment: Scatological Destiny

Most of you know that I spent the better part of high school and college with my feet strapped to a plank of wood, chasing other kids down a mountain. By the time I made it to junior year of college, it was clear that if I wanted to pursue my dream of being one of the fastest snowboarders in the world, I would have to sacrifice some of the academic aspirations I'd been working for as well. Before the beginning of my junior year in college, I decided to take a leap, leaving college and moving to Vail to head up a squad of young snowboard racers who also had a need for speed. This story isn't about that amazing year. It's a about the porcelain tipping point that kicked it off...

Towards the end of my sophomore year I had already been wavering for weeks on whether to leave college behind for an uncertain dream. Having already left Bates College for CU, I did not take the decision to pick up and move again lightly. Not only was I well down the path towards an anthropology degree, but I had recently applied to CU's school of journalism and mass communication. The J-school in Boulder had a reputation for being extremely selective, not because it was so academically rigorous(trust me, it wasn't) but because it suffered from such a lack of funding that it could only accept a small class of students each year. Their selection criteria was academic excellence-I had that covered- combined with an essay about why applicants would like be in journalism.

Figuring my academic credentials spoke to the seriousness I brought to my studies, I decided that the essay needed to be well-written, clever, creative AND different. Armed with an editorial written by one of my favorite journalists, I set to work writing an impassioned essay on my journalistic aspirations, peppered with big ideas, moving insights and one small quip about discovering some of the best reporting in the world while perched atop a porcelain throne. Throne I said. Not toilet, or poop, or fart or shit or dookie or diarrhea. Throne. Still, that was enough for the review board to reject my application on account of my immaturity evidenced by "scatological humor."

The same afternoon I received the rejection notice I called up the racing program director in Vail and told him to expect me come September. I had no idea what to expect but my mind was made up. To Vail I would go. Little did I know that one small sentence about a toilet was the passport  to a year of cris-crossing the country and the globe chasing snow, making friends, and ripping down mountains faster than even I thought possible. At 20 years old I was already living my dreams and learning what it meant to work towards a singular purpose. Life was moving fast and there were many toilets to explore.

A year later I decided it was time to get back to school and tried again to earn the approval of the infamous J-school review board. I submitted the exact same essay as the year before, minus two sentences and what do you think happened? Success.

These days I still sit on a porcelain throne and page through a paper that brings me stories from around the world. Meanwhile the J-school at Boulder has been discontinued. Perhaps the faculty and staff lacked foresight of where journalism was going. Or perhaps they failed to embrace their scatological destiny. As for me, I'm going to keep chasing my dreams around the world to whichever toilet they lead...

See you tomorrow for some more excitement.

1 comment:

  1. Hate to be an editor, but your last sentence should have read:

    "See you tomorrow for some more excremen... er, I mean excitement."

    Btw, I have your shirt! - j