You Are Not Special

By: Undergraduate Advisory Board Member and Upstate Domain Director Phil Frandina, RIT ’08

“A person can succeed at almost anything for which they have unlimited enthusiasm” —Charles Schwab

When I was asked to be a part of phitaublog’s “guest blogging month,” my initial reaction was humbling graciousness.  Why should my thoughts and messages be included with the great minds of the bloggers, and the other guests to follow? What would the audience learn from me? What could I possibly be considered an expert on?

The short answer is nothing.  I am not an expert in anything. The longer answer comes with a bit more insight.

Fact: I have no superior knowledge in management, in planning, in motivating those around you. Like George Washington, Thomas Edison or Wolfgang Mozart, I’m just a man.

Fact: What I do have in common with these legendary men is but one thing—passion.

Each of these men found something they were passionate about and did everything they could to make sure they would find success in that.  At some point over the past five years, I realized I was passionate about Phi Kappa Tau—and that was enough to push me day in and day out.

So what’s the point?

Close to two decades too late, David McCullough Jr. told around 300 graduating high school seniors that they were not special.  The good news is that neither are Clapton, Obama or Jordan.  They just cared more, and they tried harder.  Find something that YOU (not your mom, not your big brother and not your peers … YOU) are passionate about.

Want to be a writer?  Read so many poems, novels and song lyrics that you can’t pick a favorite.

Want to be a musician?  Play your guitar until you can barely feel your fingers.  Then, pick up drum sticks and use a different part of your hand until your fingers heal.

Want to run a marathon?  The only thing stopping you is spending more time dreaming than training.  And trust me, there’s plenty of time to refresh Facebook every 30 seconds after you go outside and run.

Mr. McCullough ended his commencement speech with that not-so-subtle reminder: “You are not special.”  His reasoning?  “… because everyone is.”

A million thanks to our wonderful bloggers for giving me this opportunity.  I make sure to read every new post, waiting for the page to load with the same giddiness as when I stare at the microwave watching the popcorn bag slowly inflate.  I’m honored to be a part of it and can’t wait to see everyone in Nashville!

Frandina’s passion for Phi Tau led him through several leadership positions during his time as an undergraduate and earned him the 2011 William H. Shideler Award.

~ by phitaublog on July 5, 2012.

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