Of all the sins, pride and envy have always been my greatest weaknesses. Over the years, envy has become less of an issue and I’ve learned to tame the green-eyed monster and to be happy for others in their successes. Perhaps even more exciting is the development of being able to feel genuinely excited, proud, and happy for others without any reservation or angst. However, pride has remained a challenge.
Whenever I do something that I want to feel proud of, I am immediately stuck with the guilt of feeling like a braggart, even if I never mention a word of my accomplishment to anyone. Yes, I want to be proud of myself and yes, I’d like for my friends and family to be proud of me, but it’s hard to say it out loud sometimes. I have memories of being a young kid and kids in my class bragging about things that little kids brag about (“my lunch is better than yours,” and “my dad could totally beat up your dad,” or even “I bet I’m taller than you when I grow up”) and just hating it. There was no winning, and it always left me with self-doubt. Even to this day, people who like to bask in self-aggrandizing stories totally rub me the wrong way. If I want to hear all about how awesome you are, I’ll ask! Trust me!
However, this past year I feel I’ve really started to come into my own as a person, a woman, an adult (gasp!), and someone who has the temperance and wherewithal to be proud of myself and let others be proud or congratulatory of me without feeling like a total jerk. It’s nice, thought it’s taken some practice.
So, I wanted to share with you, dear reader, some recent updates from my life. Some are accomplishments, and thus I will endeavor to share them with grace. Some are exciting events in the future, and I will do my best to exhibit the same enthusiasm in my writing as I feel inside.
My Peace Corps Process
Joining the Peace Corps was something that took eight years to finally accomplish. Now that I’m in the middle of the application process, I have to reevaluate daily my motivations, fears, and excitement in joining this organization and dedicating more than two years of my life to service. I feel like these months of waiting since I submitted my application last August have been some of the most rewarding in recent years. The waiting is killer, but it’s also essential. I’m very proud of my decision and reasons to serve in Peace Corps, and feverently hope things will pan out as I’m hoping they will (fingers crossed for Morocco!).
Alaska FFA Association
I rarely write about Alaska FFA (maybe ever?) on this blog since I don’t want my personal life entangled with the work of a very fine youth organization. However, I have been working with Alaska FFA as a student, member, alumni, and now staff for about 10 years now, and have never been more proud of my association with FFA. Over the last several years, Alaska FFA has gone through some really rough times. It was hard for a lot of dedicated members, but thankfully those days are behind us and we have moved onto much more stable footing. Over the last two years, I’ve been working with Alaska FFA as a member of the state staff on a voluntary basis. Since the beginning of this year, I am now being paid as a private contractor to help put on the 37th Alaska FFA State Convention. I even have my own business license (Hannah Harrison Enterprises – cheesy, I know)! I recently received my first paycheck for this work, and it was a very proud moment to be in business for myself supporting an organization I love dearly.
I’ve also been busy lately putting together a new website for Alaska FFA, and I’m really happy with my results so far. You can check it out at: www.alaskaffaassociation.com. As a last note on this topic, I’ve also been working with the Alaska FFA Alumni, and am so proud that four alumni have come forward and sponsored official FFA jackets for current members. We held an essay contest, and recently awarded the four jackets to some very deserving members. I remember how important my own FFA jacket was to me, and it will be such a treat to see these members in brand new jackets at our state convention.
My Graduate Work and Thesis
Since Christmas, I’ve been dedicated an extraordinary amount of time toward working on my thesis, and rightly so. Though I am only working on finishing a masters, this is the greatest and most thorough piece of work I will have completed in my life thus far, and I want to make sure it’s as well-written and accurate as possible. A few days ago, I submitted a less-rough draft to my whole committee for their review and comments. I’m proud to have gotten this far in the process and to still be moving forward toward graduation in the spring (May). I don’t usually subscribe to a lot of pomp and circumstance and big events, but I am really looking forward to walking across that stage and receiving my diploma. The last time I walked for a graduation was for my high school diploma, which will have been seven years ago by the time I walk for my masters. Yikes!
However, before I can graduate, I must first defend my thesis work. Right now, I’m scheduled to lay it all out there on March 22nd. Both my parents are planning to come to the defense, and it will be a very proud moment to stand before them and all my academic friends and family and explain to them my graduate work. Also, probably a little nervewracking…
My May-June Road Trip
I really like road trips. I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t? There’s something very freeing about abandoning all schedules and constraints and following the open road to new and exciting places. Or, in my case, to national parks! I have long talked about doing a road trip on the West Coast and stopping to drool over all our Nation’s western natural wonders. This May, the day after I graduate, I am going to do just that. And to top it off, I am going to bring along two of the finest and most wonderful women ever to grace my life: my old room mate M, and my good friend A. I am incredibly excited to visit over a dozen national and state parks, see M’s new digs in Idaho where she now lives with her husband, and get to see several new-to-me states along the way.
While the main purpose of this trip is to get out of dodge for a while, I also have another goal: to create an oral documentary of my parent’s sibling’s lives, complete with photographic addendums. I’m hoping to use my ethnographic skills to visit with and interview my aunts and uncles all along the West Coast and put together a family archive in a digital format. Each person will then be given a copy of their interviews and photos, and may pass it on to whomever they wish in the future. Essentially, I hate to see parts of our family history lost as people age and pass away. My grandparents on both sides left some very beautiful and sentimental heirlooms, and I’d like to create the same thing for any children I or my sister or cousins may have. Plus, I’ll get to visit with family I haven’t seen in years!
So, all around lots to be excited about and a small amount of pride in my work is probably not undue. More details to come about my trip, graduation, and Peace Corps assignments as they arrive!