If I knew back then what I knew now... it would be a much shorter and less interesting life. We learn through experience, not being given the answers.
I stepped into this unknowing of how it changes you by the end. Like a child, naïve to outside forces acting on you because you aren’t the first defense to handle it. That is how I can equate my first year of college, padded and joyful. Parents give the money they can spare and everything you need to be on your way. The best year is your first year because it’s a trial run and by the end of the second semester my parents tossed me out the window to figure it out on my own and I’ve never flown before then. You can never really be ready for what you’ve never experienced so anyone you asked for advice for how to handle this first, can only account for the time they spent in their specific isolated village of learning.
Yes, an “isolated village of learning” is how I can describe the institution I chose to study. The town is small and lacks productive extracurricular activities outside of drinking holidays and sport events. Compared to my first year, these activities seemed like the world but that dimmed from a roaring fire to a single flicker. Here I am, now at the fourth year in my college career and am unimpressed and behind. Distracted and hopeful, I gave a lot of my time to the wrong things, hoping they would bring me the satisfaction I was looking to find. Guys, parties, and food – if I were a college essay that would have been my thesis. The more and more I tried to flush out the details of these ideas, the more it became blurry to my actual ideas of self and success in college.
Senior year was sort of just a repeat of junior year but if anyone asked…
I’d been doing “okay” in classes. It’s been patchy with A’s and B’s here, C’s and W’s (withdrawals) there and of recently yes, I’d had an F or two. My GPA has seen scholar as well as ignorance but if anyone asked that seemed like a parental figure…
Exhausted of all desire to achieve an honor status, I would be grateful to crawl across the stage army style in December.
We spend most of our lives educating ourselves institutionally that we don’t learn anything about ourselves for ourselves. This type of education turns us off to the idea of learning. In many semesters, I had classes I enjoyed for the content or for the workload or I just didn’t like the class. In these classes I didn’t enjoy, I always wanted to learn outside of the curriculum because all my head would do was wander away aimlessly. I thought I was dumb or maybe had Attention Deficit Disorder for not wanting to read or not being able to pay attention to the book. It was simply something I didn’t want to learn about. It didn’t benefit me and yes, I looked at it from different angles. It doesn’t excuse why I can’t simply do it for the grade.
I never answered honestly when I was asked why I wanted to go to college because I was always answering to educators who wanted to hear my automated answers. No doubt I love to learn but learning how to navigate life in college and the curriculum is something they don’t brace you for no matter how much college prep you’re given.
After all the failure and roadblocks of registration holds, incomplete paperwork, and insufficient funds to keep myself here I decided to step away, not give up. One semester from the finish line and I walked away from it on the last few laps.
Why? For me and my sanity but mostly because my bursar bill was over $5,000 and I had no other options. I had my anxiety attack over the idea that I’ll be sitting on the bench but then I understood how beautiful it could be. Taking 5 months to rebuild and reconfigure what I needed and where I was going. I replayed the mantra in my head “It’s a journey not a race,” well if that’s true then I will get there. As my fortune, no one can get there faster than whom it was meant for, me.