Greetings, everyone. Hopefully you all have had a blessed, fun-filled summer and are having a productive, yet fun, new semester. As 2008 is nearing its conclusion and 2009 is waiting in the wings, it is sometimes hard to believe that another year that seems to have just dawned is now nearing its end.

This summer in old Rochesterville was pretty swell, actually. Yeah, it had its hot moments, but it wasn’t drastic or exceedingly arid.

At the same time, it wasn’t unseasonably cool or rainy. Just a nice, relaxed, basic summer. No hurricanes or tornadoes, thank goodness (my prayers go out to the victims of such disasters as Hurricane Ike and the like, and the speediest of recoveries). And, oh yeah, no dreaded snow, although in these parts it is inevitable in the coming months, which makes the idea of celebrating summer that much more gracious and appreciative.

Needless to say, this year has been an interesting and historic one, from the gas prices to the Dow Jones ‘plunge” and the huge bailout following it, to Senator Barack Obama becoming the first African American to lead a major political party in running for president, with the potential to win and become the next (and first African-American) president of the United States of America, with a platform of change to boot.

This year has also seen some changes in the overall look of the UR River Campus, as UR and Strong Memorial Hospital (now Rochester’s top employers) vowed to extend and expand their position in the city.

Sadly, though, this year has also seen the final demolition and closing of a once-vibrant, bustling Midtown Plaza (the nation’s first indoor mall built in 1962) after years of constant demise and decline.

As for me, it has been a year of trials and tribulations, with many successes and failures along the way. It has also been a year of great self-discovery, and an even greater realization and understanding of the world around me.

It has given me an appreciation and gratefulness of past and present accomplishments, as well as the potential for even greater future ones.

It has taught me to enjoy and savor the good times, to persevere and weather through the bad ones, and to constantly strive to learn as much as possible and to overcome obstacles that may hinder my progress. That is, to stay the course regardless of the situation or obstacles.

As with any lifelong endeavor, the journey to self-improvement and self-discovery is an ongoing and continuous process, with many lessons, blessings and obstacles along the way. It is never a smooth road all the way through, but it is not always rough, either.
With this in mind, it is up to the individual to not only strive to be the best person possible, but to strive to learn the world around them and to do their part in making it a better place.

They must also give themselves (and others) a chance to become self-actualized, regardless of the situation and people around them, and to lean on God and to allow Him to guide them in all they do, especially during life’s troubled times.

They must respect themselves, respect others and respect life in general.

They must also expect the same from others in return, for a two-way street is not simply and only for the benefit of one-way.

Jackson is a UR employee.

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