You don’t really make the decision of “if” you are going to school after high school, you decide what you will take, where you will go and which dorm room suites your needs. The idea of going to some kind of extended learning is the norm now, and especially where I grew up, it’s a necessity.
I decided on trying to follow my dreams at age 17, my dreams were very broad, not really thought out and my end point was not even discussed. I decided on my school first, based on its proximity to my family, the price of rent in the area and the fact that I knew my way around the town. Did you notice there is nothing about a career in that decision? The area of study I chose at university was largely based on what would sound really good when they read it out at graduation.
I moved from my mom’s house into my dad’s and went to university 3 hours from my home town. I didn’t adventure off and make it on my own, I didn’t pick a school based on the ratings of the programs or the ability to land a job after. I didn’t even pick my programs focus until 3rd year. I based my decision (that is suppose to set me up for my life) on what I thought made sense.
I had heard all of the horror stories of students never getting out of debt. SO…. I thought why pay rent when I can live with my parents. I spent my grant money on a car and got myself some freedom but other than that this decision was solely based on what came easy.
Education is Always Important:
I do not regret getting an education, lets put that out there right away. I went to school and I finished something. That’s a big deal, I over came the struggles I faced, or pretended to, and I learned a lot about myself. What I didn’t accomplish is finding the “something” that is going to complete me. I landed a job after school doing something completely different than my degree. Which felt like a failure until just recently, because I spent 5 years going over and over again these tiny details of research that I found out really doesn’t matter in my new life. The education I gained is important, just maybe not in the direct sense.
It wasn’t the school work or test or exams that got me to where I am right now. It was the connections I made in friends, the experience I gained through part-time jobs and the ability to bull-sh*t and essay on the fly. I can type a mile a minute and I can organize my thoughts into pretty little packages of poetry but that’s not what I am doing everyday to pay my bills. I’m just wading through the waters with these new-found talents in my back pocket for whenever I need them (wow right now… I’m using them right now!)
The pressure is on in such a full force in the 3-5 years of your degree and it is just crazy to look back on and think, “okay that wasn’t that bad”. I have been so mad at my education for so long because it did not grant me my 3 wishes that I thought it would, wealth, happiness and security. I see my degree hanging in its pretty frame outside my bedroom and think, “wow I accomplished that!” and some days I think, “remember how much that piece of paper made me cry/ how many bottles of wine were consumed in the making” and so on… What I have learned through all of this, is that everyone’s adventure starts and ends somewhere different. Comparing my experience to yours is absolutely useless because there is nothing to compare. I also learned what real friends look and sound like, and how to handle a lot of nonsense at one time.
Through these years I was able to learn about relationships and what makes a good one. That goes for friendships, as well as romantically. The friends I made and I learned a lot together, by struggling through classes, struggling to find our way home after a night out and struggling to find our emotions and present them in an articulate manner. It wasn’t about learning who the person was, it was about learning who we were and where that person fit into our lives, and that process is messy. School throws all of these factors at you at one time and just says, “now what?” That’s when you step up and make a decision.
The most important thing I want to clarify through this post is that you learn in school. It may not be solely biology or statistics but you learn about yourself, you grow as a person and you start to see how you impact different people. You do learn your courses even if you start to resent them, but that knowledge will come up in conversation and make you feel like an expert. I am slowly learning to be less mad at my education and am attempting to show it some gratitude. It showed me myself and how I handle stress, it wasn’t a perfect path, or a path I ever thought I was headed on, but it did open some doors that may have been closed otherwise.
A word I don’t use enough in my everyday thought is “Grace”. I’m trying to show myself more grace as the years go on. I put my best foot forward and that’s all I have… these two feet are the best feet I have to work with. If I trip or miss my footing, I give myself grace for at least deciding to take step in the direction I thought was best. That was my schooling experience. Finding out that “my” best may not be the best of someone, else but that’s because our paths don’t lead to the same place. I’m on mine and they are on their own so every miss-step I take is actually a step towards something I am going to succeed at. Being extremely competitive my competitive-foot can really hush my grace-foot sometimes… but I’m working on it.
All in all,
We make choices that shape what we will do in 5 years without knowing it. We choose things to do on weekends and days off that may or may not impact our overall life. But no matter the choice we end up making, if it’s a school decision, a work decision, choosing between name brand mac and cheese and no name, were making them. They’re stepping stones, that takes us farther up that ladder to whatever si at the top. Learning to be okay with each decision is the hardest part. But that’s why we are here together. In the middle of the pre-game and the end game, we don’t know what’s going to happen yet but we know what were hoping for and the steps we want to take to get there.
So if your still with me….
Show yourself a little grace today, because as I am writing this I’ve spilled coffee down my blouse and may have sneezed on my boss’s documents, but the coffee I spilled was free, and that’s a win if you ask me!