I’m about to reveal something I’ve never told my husband, mom or any of my closest friends. Oddly enough, I have no problem telling a bunch of strangers the following but am still kinda of anxious knowing that my family is going to read this. In hindsight, it’s no big deal but in the moment I didn’t want to disappoint anyone or feel like a failure.
Years later, I’ve come to terms with knowing that failure leads to success and not to be afraid of it.
Here goes nothing:
It was spring quarter of my senior year of college. I was weeks away from walking out of The Ohio State University with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology scot free. That’s what it look to someone on the outside, except my reality was completely different.
I had coasted through four years of university with average grades. You know the kind that were good enough but nothing to write home about. It turns out I had a bad case of senioritis and was just trying to pass my final class so they could me hand a diploma.
After finally choosing a major (I had four), I settled on Psychology because it seemed to be a good fit and some of the material was interesting. I really had no idea what I wanted to do after graduation. Maybe become a teacher? Who knows? Didn’t happen.
The notion of it was mandatory to college after high school was drilled into my head. My path looked like this: go to college, obtain a degree and get a job. That’s just what you did. Otherwise people would unfairly judge you.
As a teenager, you want to blend in and follow the crowd so I did. I never challenge the status quo or questioned my next steps during this whole process. So here it is:
The secret I have kept to myself over the last 15 years is I almost didn’t graduate (on time). There, I said it. It’s out there. As I hear myself say this now, all it means is that I would have stayed an extra quarter. Although, I probably would have been so consumed with distraught about disappointing my loved ones that I might have quit altogether.
Yes, I was totally into people pleasing.
Learning From My Mistakes
Looking back on my college career, I wasn’t ready for the academic portion coming right out of high school. But I totally excelled in the social aspect.
My bachelors degree was the next step in life and felt like a requirement. I really had no passion for anything in particular but knew I had to go to school. Failure was not an option because I was so worried about what others’ thought that all I focused on was passing. The material was a moot point because the end goal was graduation and not what I learned.
Grad school was a new chapter in my life. It was something I chose to do because I wanted to learn more about school counseling. I got exceptional grades and was so proud of how I retained the material I was taught.
My love for continuous learning stemmed from such a positive grad school experience. Now, as a fully functioning adult, I jump feet first into researching a topic of interest to exhaustion. I get books out of the library, reading them cover to cover, practice the material I’ve learned and most importantly am OK with failing.
Earlier in life, I would never have spent hours learning a new skill because it wasn’t on my priority list. What I’ve come to realize is that “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” When I want to learn, I am completely engrossed in the topic. I not only want to know How it works but Why.
Life Is All About Learning
“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” – Helen Keller
I actually put more effort into my work now when there isn’t a college degree on the line because knowledge is important to me. Performing my due diligence about a subject is imperative to growing as a person.
Those four years of college did teach me something. I have fond memories of my time there because much of what I learned happened outside the classroom. Sure, I was supposed to go to college to further my academic career but for me that wasn’t the case. Being a part of community organizations geared towards serving others proved that school is only part of the equation. Many of our life lessons are taught elsewhere.
It was time well spent focusing on other aspects of life that developed me into being a well-rounded human being. I could look back on this secret I’ve kept for years and feel bad about it, but I don’t. This experience helped drive me to become a person that feels passionate and committed to her projects.
It didn’t happen overnight but nothing ever does. Years later, I’m glad there was a little hiccup in my college education so that today I am able to harness a love for learning and will always be willing to learn more.
Put your oxygen mask on first.
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