The Messenger

A short hitch in the Army in the early 1990’s was the kindling in my case. Through the years, the winding path took me to working in the mathematics department of a small community college as an instructional assistant, which I still currently do. Math is the great crusher in the college system, it is truly a four letter word for most people.
Watching and listening to people like David Rutherford and Marcus Luttrell, among others, is exactly the same message and mentality that the academic world needs, just as any aspect of life. As Rob O’Neill says in many of his talks, “…keep moving forward, never quit, and you will be fine…”, this same message applies and is critical in the education system.
Students very often save mathematics for last, because they are afraid of it. My job isn’t to teach someone how to integrate some function, my job is to show them that by not quitting, they will make it. There is not a JCOS or a FEMA manager who’s crisis management team hinges on whether they can take the derivative of a function or calculate the surface area of something. What they need is the attitude of getting through the emergency swiftly and correctly, and not giving up because the decision or choice is too hard to make.
We have people of all flavors in our program at the school; all races, male, female, trans, bi, lesbian, gay, all religions, disabled, etc. None of that matters though, what matters is the perseverance. Anyone can do this stuff, education is absolutely possible, for anyone.
All I really am in my work is a messenger. I pass along information that has been passed to me, be-it as a problem to calculate or those words I heard as a young private in the Army, or those words I still hear today from the people on shows like TNQ. Just don’t quit. Seeing someone struggle, seeing them fail again and again, yet pick themselves up, not quitting, and getting back on it, eventually succeeding and finishing, is the best high any messenger can have. Being a little cog in a persons life as they make their success, born from multiple failures and restarts, seeing it again and again….I have a front row seat, observing what Never Quit can do for people. It is truly fucking awesome.

Author: Derek