A cross, a ribbon, a rosary; everybody has an object that they cling to in moments of weakness. A simple reminder that no matter what life throws at us we shouldn't give up. It's a reminder that people, just like us, went through the same trials, and in the end they made it through. It's a reminder that we are never really alone.
For me, that symbol is a typewriter.
As those of you who read this column regularly know, I'm on my journey to becoming a writer. Writing this column and going to college are my ways of preparing myself for my future. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect.
I take courses on how to perfect my paragraphs. I listen to my professors and learn from their corrections. I study authors who have come before me by reading their work and picking up on their tricks. I also learn from my critics.
Even though I enjoy school and working at the newspaper, at times I find myself asking "Why can't I be the next J.K. Rowling now! Why can't I write the next best seller over night?" I want to skip over the lessons learned the hard way and throw patience right out the window. Like most people, I want to reap my rewards, here and now, minus the work and stress of course.
In moments like this I simply have to remind myself that in order to enjoy my successes I have to earn them.
Pro-football players do not just wake up one day in their mid 20s say, "I want to be a professional athlete," and then - BAM! - get handed a Green Bay Packer jersey.
Athletes are not born with talent. They spend countless hours, days, weeks practicing their skill. Coaches put them on a schedule: how many laps to run, how much muscle to gain. The athletes left weights, run drills, and sweat until they have pushed their bodies to the limit.
All the hours on the field and in the weight room spent training may leave them without immediate praise. No one knows who they are yet, or what they are capable of. But the athletes keep their eye the prize: the Green and Gold. They cling to the Green Bay Packers logo and continue to strive for greatness.
While I sit at my desk, typing away on my laptop, I glance over at my typewriter.
I took out a want ad in the newspaper looking for a vintage typewriter. A woman in Norway, Michigan. had one that belonged to a relative who got it from an old Ford Motor plant. She gave it to me after she saw my ad. It's a beautiful Underwood No. 5.
That typewriter reminds me that one day I will be a writer. All this hard work and effort is going to pay off. These are the days I'm spending training myself, perfecting my paragraphs and learning how to form the perfect sentence.
That typewriter gives me hope. It gives me that little extra push, not just in my writing, but in my life.
Editor's note: Chelsey Roath is a student at Northern Michigan University. Her biweekly column on college life in Marquette runs on Sundays. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.