The first two posts I ever wrote for this little project - now more than 18 months and 300 posts ago, were about me. I know, in some respect almost all of them are, but I’m speaking more in definitive, descriptive terms. Vital statistics, as it were. At least that’s what my intention originally was, but I have a penchant for exploring tangents even if I still did not fully realize it. Upon re-reading those first two entries posted back in December 2005, I am happy to say that those inaugural pieces are still, to me at least, profound. Indeed, in retrospect and aided by the light of the passing of time, it is interesting to see how my goals have materialized and how they have evolved.
I began this journal of sorts as a diversion to keep my writing fresh during the five-week winter break at California State University, Sacramento. Only days after my 43rd birthday, I was still at the beginning of a new segment in my life’s journey. That segment will come to an end at the end of this year; I will have earned my BA degree in government-journalism at Sacramento State - magnum cum laude, thank you very much. Although it will be a semester later than originally planned, I am as proud of this achievement as I am surprised by it. I was apprehensive and more than a little scared going in, but I had enough confidence - just enough - that I would get through it. Obviously, I am not only getting through it, I am excelling.
I referred to myself in that first post as an “aspiring writer/journalist.” Today, I am no longer aspiring - I am a writer/journalist. I documented briefly some of the ups and downs of the roller coaster of my life. I wrote in a comment on another blog recently that I have not led a charmed life. In the context of what I was writing, that is true enough, but overall and taking into account where my path has led me today, I cannot say with a straight face “woe is me.” I don’t want to and I won’t discount the work it took to pull myself together, but I can’t discount the enormous help from those that have made it possible. There are so many variables that “figuring it all out” is impossible, however, doing it is not impossible and I am not the only one who has overcome adversity, tragedy, bad luck or trauma.
My first journalism professor at Sac State inspired my blog name, “Mr. Althouse.” It is one of his mannerisms, I guess, but to this day he still refers to me as Mr. Althouse. It was the first instance in a very long time that that salutation with my last name was used in a situation that did not involve a judge, or a doctor, or some other authority figure. I don’t know if it was his intent to instill a sense of self-respect among his students - perhaps, most are half my age and just “growing up,” but in a sense, so was I. At any rate, I no longer look over my shoulder when someone says, “Sir.”
I am currently enjoying a beautiful summer in Fair Oaks, Calif., a very nice suburb in the greater Sacramento area. My last semester starts in about six weeks and by year-end, I will have that diploma that has eluded me for so long. My goal was to begin my career working as a full-time journalist, making my way up the ladder to a major-market daily newspaper. That might still turn out to be the path I take, but so many other doors have opened along the way.
In September I will sit for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). I plan to take a preparatory course prior to it so that I will obtain the best possible score. That score, combined with a 3.8 + GPA at Sac State will be the factors that determine whether law school is in my future. If experience is anything, I must realize anything is possible. It is, again, terrifying. But I’ll do it and see what happens. I will never allow fear to paralyze me again. If I don’t try, I have already failed. Regardless, if all else fails, I think there might be a future in journalism for me.