Some things we can’t control

Here in Colorado, enormous and devastating fires have been raging – one, at Waldo Canyon, is the worst in the state’s history. The flames are destroying homes and throwing lives into tumult. Of course, this scene is repeated with natural disasters around the world; but presently here, the fires are giving everyone pause to stop and think about the mightiness of nature and how much we can’t control, even despite our massive and most expert human efforts.

The sobering force of fire reminds me of the various forces that sometimes work upon students and stymie their academic aspirations. These aren’t necessarily catastrophic in scale, of course; some are brought on by students themselves; and certainly, they’re not all negative. But the heat from these forces, ranging from the positive to the unfortunate  – relocation, family obligations, accidents, personal loss, medical troubles – can overwhelm students and prevent them from applying themselves to their studies. They withdraw, fail classes, or quit school altogether. We see this over and over again in the community college.

It’s life. While there’s no way to foresee or prevent certain events, affected ones should take heart: even if one is derailed by circumstances, it’s possible to go back to school  – there’s no race to the finish line of education, no requirement to “arrive” in a certain span of time. We all get older with or without having achieved goals, so it truly is never too late to engage in learning of any kind . . . which is its own force, its own little flame, for good.

Image via / imelenchon