School has been a challenging journey for me. When I think about it, it’s not so much school in itself, but what it is doing in and through me. Exams, group projects, stress of making the grade, all of that is taxing enough on the psyche; however, I have felt a shift in who I am as a result of going to school in my late 30s.
Every experience in life is to teach us something about ourselves.
I thought I had me all figured out. Thought I knew who I was, what I wanted, where I saw my career heading. Well, let me be the first to confess, I had it all wrong. I was someone who job-hopped for lack of finding the right fit and had no problem signaling for the bus to stop when I felt I was going in the wrong direction. I may not have always known what I wanted, but could tell you at the crack of dawn what I did not want. I knew I was a writer and wanted to sell millions of books, for them to fly off the shelves, have people rounding the corner of bookstores just to get my autograph. I saw my work not only occupying shelves but filling up theaters across the nation. I knew books would be my start and expand to stories being told on the big and small screen. School did not fit into what I saw for who I was or what I wanted.
Life does not always follow our plan, it orchestrates the music until we play the right keys.
I’ve had highs and lows on this journey. Every semester I look for the exit sign. I look for reasons and ways to diagonal my right palm to my forehead and say sayonara. It’s just not worth it. There’s something more fulfilling I can do with my time. I can be in a coffeehouse or at home penning my fourth, fifth, and sixth novels or pecking away at the keyboard watching a TV idea unfold or words to a feature film moving across the screen. All sorts of thoughts filter through my head every single time I put my backpack across my shoulders and sit in class after class day after day. But guess what? Every day I make it home in one piece to do it all over again the next day. And when I check another 16 credits off my degree plan, I tell myself, “That wasn’t so bad now, was it?”
This past semester taught me three things about myself:
I’m smarter than I give myself credit for.
The semester began with a failing exam grade for just about every class which made me feel like a failure. What a way to start the end of my junior year. I was defeated. I carried around that defeat for weeks, allowing it to affect my mood and my feelings about me. I tried to write myself off. Just quit, why don’t you. Despite how poorly I thought about myself, I kept at it. I talked to my professors. I studied harder. I did the work. Excelled in my strong suits until my weak areas had no choice but to step it up. As a result, my next exam scores escalated. And so did the exams after that. At the end of the semester, well, let me just show you.
How I start is not how I finish.
I don’t always have to be so strong.
No, I don’t. Who says I have to have it all together, have it all figured out? Keep a smile on my face when I’m not feeling so smiley inside? It’s irrelevant on the source of that ideology because she isn’t me. His story isn’t mine and her journey is destined for a different course. What I learned is that if I’m having a crappy day, feel it. Let it be. Don’t force myself to appear strong when I simply don’t have it in me. It’s a good idea to keep our feelings and moods in check, but as someone who is positive 98.9% of the time, I am allowed to have a percent here or there for an I’m-just-not-feeling-it day. Giving my mental and emotional muscles a break one day gives them room to recuperate and lift me up another day.
Weak days only make stronger days.
Resistance is real.
Can we talk about procrastination? It seems each semester my level of procrastination deepens. It has become easy to talk myself out of doing assignments until the last minute. Mind you, I stress myself out because “why did you wait so long?” has become the song I love to sing. Resistance from one assignment or project prevents me from working on others that are easier and often more pleasurable. But, noooo, let’s go ahead and waste hours on hours resisting what needs to be done. I learned the power of resistance last semester. It had me so stressed that I attributed it to the growth of fibroids
occupying my womb that had to be removed. (We’ll save that story for another blog.) The stress was unnecessary and self-induced. Had I just did the doggone work… I tell you what, it taught me that I control what hinders or progresses me, and I refuse to be a contributor in falling below the curve. I acknowledge my part in resistance. I also acknowledge that I am capable of not allowing it to control me. Writing this blog is proof of that.
Acknowledgement means nothing unless action is taken to rectify your habits.