College is a whirl wind.
You either get there right after high school, or you transfer, or you take a few years to find yourself; your likes and dislikes, or you live your entire life and somewhere down the line you “decide to go back.”
But whichever path you decide to take, it all holds a beautiful story, parts of your life, fond memories, hard work, maybe some dark times as well, whatever it may be, so many people have a different experience, and stories to tell.
I always thought the hard part was “getting there”. With tumultuous thoughts running through my head like, “I’m not good enough,” “smart enough,” rich enough,” and so many other worthless uneasy thoughts that never got me anywhere. I simply just didnt think I had the money nor ability to afford this path nor did I have the time for it.
But in high school I somehow got in to my safety school. But the reality hit, I really couldn’t afford it, and with my parents unwilling to co-sign off on loans for me, I was stuck at a stand-still.
And so the community college train hit. And I, like many of my previous classmates, found themselves in 13th grade at our local community college. I was determined to make something out of myself, to not be a 6th year at a JC, or be a wife and mother while I was still in college, I don’t know why I thought that was so bad at the time but looking back now it probably has to do with the fact that it just makes the journey that more terrifying, difficult and painstaking, not the fact that I would make a promise to my spouse or brought a child into the world.
So, how did I do it? I made a plan. For hours I remember sitting in front of the computer I as giftedfresh out of high school specifically for the use of college, and I made a long-term plan with short-term goals.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what it all meant, I just knew I was going to get out of that “stupid freaking school” as soon as possible. So I sought guidance, and didn’t find it until mid June because I somehow had a a cousin that worked in the counseling office, and that was when we finalized my plan A.
It was nothing short of perfect, despite hitting a few road blocks, difficulties and heart breaks that turned out to be nothing in the grand scheme of things.
When I got to the end of my two years at SMC I found myself stuck (yet again), still not able to afford a university education but I knew I hadto figure it out.
It was time for a cheaper alternative, a CSU, if you will. And during this time I, like many other people on their own journey, took a year off and tried to “find myself.”
I did. I found my self-worth after walking away from a long-term unhealthy relationship that was sucking the life out of me, worked for an amazing family as their nanny, finally got the funding needed to pay for applications, sending transcripts from my JC, UCLA, and AP scores and the ability to breathe again.
When I got accepted, into all of my schools, I made a choice and decided to take a shot at my top school, Cal Poly Pomona. It was finally feeling like I had things somewhat together and it felt legitimatley awesome and luckily for me I had more willpower, strength and decided to make a concious effort to stop the self doubt. I truly had a new weapon in my artillery, Jesus. And boy did He PROVIDE!!
I remember, distinctly thanking Him over and over, and over again. I just felt so blessed man!
Then graduation came after two short years at Cal Poly and the accumulations of ZERO DEBT. Yes. You read that right. ZERO. I don’t mean to boast but I’m telling you GOD PROVIDED in the face of adversity. Despite constantly thinking, “I have no money for ths,” “I’m not smart enough,” etc etc in the years prior to that.
But what I didn’t expect next was the failure in my triumph. I lost sight. I lost sight of what God was leading me towards. I got so stuck on proving my worth, my intelligence, my worthiness, that I lost sight of it all.
And I grew a deep sadness and the notion of failure. College is weird man. You work so hard for so long. Filling your brain with all the things and then it’s over. And you realize how much self-worth you placed on achieving that goal and then it comes and goes and you’re left with this fancy little paper saying you are important, educated and prepared.
But then why do I feel everything but prepared, ready and satisfied?
It’s not because I “want more” than I can have. It’s the fact that I truly lost sight of God in all of this. I lost sight of the gifts he’d personally chosen for me and (I) decided to stamp my forehead with the word, failure and loser (queue Smash Mouth’s All Star).
I lost sight that I had been given the gift of empathy, and it was time to extend that empathy towards myself as a human, whose just trying to figure it out. I lost sight of the fact that I wanted to be a teacher and work with children, heck, maybe even adults with special needs or even students that didn’t show the signs of special needs, in order to help them grow into good human people. This was my calling and gift and goal God had personally permanently put on my heart, not the silly stamp with the word loser in temporary ink.
And how did this involve God? By doing His work, and helping people grow and change. And honestly I can do that in most any profession and any real life experiences, not just in a class room.
It’s funny how hard of a pill it is to swallow when were promised how easy it will be from here on out. I guess that’s just the beauty in life though, the not knowing, the journey, the heart ache is needed in order to find the the joy.
After all, you can’t have the light without the dark, and the dark helps us find and clinge to the light. The miraculousness of night and day is so evident and beautiful in their own ways and we must take them as shortlived and long-term seasons within our own lives. And while I may be in a darker season trying to find the light again while reaching out for God, I know it will all be worth the journey.