Life is too short to dwell on mistakes and what could have been. Enjoy the little things, find joy in good company, and love your life. Accept that you are who you are and even though it may be cliché, don’t let anyone say you can’t do something. Anything is possible with a little hard work and the determination to dream big.
Why do we go to college? I guess I never really thought about it before. I am just about to finish college and am just realizing that the whole reason I went to college was so I could work at a higher pay rate. Is that what college is for and if so why? I get it I am pursuing my passion, but why does a price tag need to be attached to it? We all go to college so we can get money, so we can become the people we think it will make us and the people we think we want to be. I never asked myself before starting college what do I hope to get out of this endeavor? If I were to answer the question now I would say love and happiness. Can a $70,000 check give me what I want or better yet, what I need? For myself college has been a pretty good choice and I can’t speak for others but, If I could do it again, go back before I enrolled. what would I have said? I don’t think it would have been to be happy because, honestly I don’t think I would have known what I wanted. Among other things what I can say now is that I am looking forward to buying things , but it is an outcome I did not expect. college gives us a piece of paper that tells others how much we are worth, we use our estimated worth to tell others how much we can buy or sell. We each make an x amount of money, but does that x tell us how much we are really worth, how happy we are supposed to be, how much love we are allowed to have? for me I don’t think it does but I think that is how we have gotten ourselves to spend so much on an education, we believe that college gives us happiness. I don’t think it does, I think it gives us a tool in the search for happiness and a tool that is not one size fits all. I don’t think college is for everyone and I think graduation rates reflect that. does a student of art really need a college to validate themselves? does a musician or a carpenter need anything other than a melody or a hammer; well maybe a few more tools or an instrument. The measure of our work is based on the opinion of others when we go to college not the opinion of ourselves. Now I am not saying that we should all leave behind the world’s we have built and go forth “into the wild”, all I am suggesting is that maybe college is over-rated and maybe before we start pouring all of our money and effort into college we should ask ourselves one question. What do I want out of life? Its a hard question to answer, but so is writing a check for $70,000 dollars. Just a thought.
It was the morning of April 24th, 2013 one day before my departure from Europe. Feeling eager to make the most of my last day I decided to make one last trip. The plan was simple, See the Calatrava Train Station in Liege, Belgium and visit the Henri and Chappelle American Cemetery. The actual endeavor of the plan became more like trying to maneuver a raft through rapids using a broken paddle.
So I left Antwerp for Liege and after a 2 hour train ride though some beautiful countryside made it to Liege. Liege is a part of the French speaking portion of Belgium and the people there are not really up on their English, to put it nicely. However, I cannot be too upset seeing my French is on par with most 6 month year old French Babies. Moving past the language barrier, I began exploring the train station. Santiago Calatrava was the architect and I have always enjoyed experiencing his architecture. The white structure laden with glass creates an open expanse that allows a lot of natural light to penetrate the space. The way the light plays on the structure creates these beautiful interior and exterior spaces full of life and vitality.
Even though the work of Calatrava was impressive it was not the highlight of my trip and so I decided to continue on my journey. This is where I hit my first snag. I was informed that the only way to get the American Cemetery was by car and it would take forty minutes to get there. So, after a few minutes of feeling very disappointed, I remembered that my teacher had talked about an American cemetery in Maastricht! So I found my way to the train information center and found that Maastricht was only 30 minutes away by train.
So I hopped in the next train to Maastricht and away I went. I arrived in Maastricht only to be blown away by what I saw. Stepping out of the train station I was greeted by a gorgeous city. The architecture, the people, and the city were great; Maastricht would prove to be a bit tricky though. I had to navigate my way to the center of the city twenty minutes from the station in order to find out how to get to the Netherlands American Cemetery only to find out that I needed to get on a bus back at the train station. As a side note, you might have caught that Maastricht is not in Belgium, but the Netherlands. Anyway, back to the story.
After riding the bus for approximately 20 minutes I arrived at the Netherlands American Cemetery. I wandered the sight for over an hour and a half. The experience of the site started by bringing you through a long paved walkway with beautiful trees on either side of you and gave you sense of calm as you approach the site. The path then turns and greets with you with the first view of the cemetery. I was blown away at how perfect and pristine the cemetery was. Standing there, I became silent and as I walked through the site spent the first 30 minutes in silence. At one end of the American Cemetery is a church / memorial which was, in its simplicity, beautiful. I appreciated how well maintained the site was and even as I walked the site people were working on maintaining the site. I saw one man using a tool to level off the grass between pavers so that it was all level with the pavers. Another thing I found to be very nice was that the other visitors were not American, but locals that came to pay their respects and left flowers in front of some of the graves.
After visiting the site I hopped back on the bus and made my way back to Maastricht. From Maastricht I took the train back to Liege and finally from Liege to Antwerp. To my great surprise I made it back with ten minutes to spare before the premiere of Iron Man 3 which came out in Europe that day of April 24th. The reason this made me happy is because, Iron Man 3 was not to premiere in the U.S. until May 4th. IR3 did not disappoint, it was an amazing movie and a great end to an epic day.