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  • Determination

    It's only appropriate to post about my big brother Travis today, on Friday the 13th, because he is the majority share-holder in my deep love of horror movies. If you've ever been around Travis and I you know that we make sport of disagreeing on virtually every topic, but scary movies has never, ever been one of them. I remember many summer nights spent up in the entertainment room watching movie after movie after movie, whether they were good or bad. I haven't stopped craving scary movie nights since, much to the chagrin of basically all of my friends.

    So, it's a great day to celebrate the other big lesson Travis has taught me over the last year: to have drive and determination. These are hard-fought qualities in my life. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a lay-on-the-couch and sleep-in-on-the-weekends kind of a girl. In fact, my family has a running joke about trying to get me to do anything at a single-digit time on the weekend. I'm really not ashamed - sleeping in and being lazy are what weekends are for! Because of this, I've always admired people who have that underlying determination to do whatever it takes to make their dreams a reality. I know I previously posted about passion, which is also key to this kind of endeavor. Unfortunately, sometimes passion isn't solely sufficient, like when you have a highly sought-after dream.

    You see, Travis wants to be a rocket scientist. (You know, the kind that don't impress Shania Twain much.) For as long as I can remember he has loved all things space. He even went to space camp when he was a kid, where he notoriously didn't shower for the duration. He graduated high-school and immediately went into the Navy, but quickly deduced that work sucks if your heart isn't in it. So, as soon as he got out of the military he got to work. I'll tell you, and he may, too, that he didn't necessarily have it all together initially. But who of us does?! 

    That fact made it even more incredible to watch him over the last year. I've watched him bust his ass ('scuse the language, but it's true) in classes and apply for his dream internship, with NASA. Despite its highly competitive nature, he snagged that puppy and found himself spending last summer at Marshall Space Flight Center, the very same place he attended space camp. (Don't worry - he showered this time.) His hard work was recognized, and he was even featured as an intern of the week. If you know Travis, you can imagine how hilarious it was to "follow" him around for a day via social media. 

    After summer ended he finished off his (second) undergrad degree and rolled right into graduate school at UTEP, which is not only revered, but also notable for the fact that nearly all (if not 100%) of graduates in the mechanical engineering program find placement at one of the big-name space companies. In addition, he's doing work for NASA in the labs while getting through school. 

    I think we could all have been content with his efforts at that point. (And by content, I mean secretly laying in bed rolling my eyes because of course he would wind up being wildly successful, just to hold it over my head for years to come.) But no, he didn't stop there. He's packing up the car and heading back to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center this summer as a co-op student. 

    Consider me floored. I mean, I knew he was smart, but COME ON. Way to make a girl look like a slacker! Being the non-competitive human that I am, I could just sit around and mutter to myself "I could've been an engineer had I wanted to" (it's okay to scoff at that) - but I'm actually trying to take notes from Travis this time around. I'm putting my nose to the grindstone on my own little side project that I've been dreaming up for quite some time. It probably won't get my name in the headlines or gain me fame in the space exploration circles anytime soon... but, hey: baby steps! 

    Stay tuned for more on that. And be subtle with your admiration of Travis, if you will... he doesn't need an ego boost. Trust me.