Since I went back to school at the age of 35 (and am now closing in on 37), I’ve gotten really good grades in most of my classes. Call it maturity, call it life experience, call it a strong motivation to get my money’s worth, but I’m doing a lot better than I did when I was a mentally ill, boy crazy struggling young 20 something. I am very proud of my A’s. I am very proud of my accomplishments. I’m very proud of making the Vice-President’s list, or as I like to call it, the college version of AB honor roll. However, I don’t really want to talk about that. I want to talk about the difference between the Vice-President’s list and the President’s list. I want to talk about the .3 points that make a 3.7 GPA, vs. a 4.0.
You see, I don’t view my greatest academic accomplishment as the perfect 100% A I got in my Public Speaking class. I view my greatest academic accomplishment as the 77% C I got in Statistics.
I made a deal with myself when I decided to take this on, that I did not have to do it perfectly. I did not have to get straight A’s. I was allowed to make mistakes. My deal with myself instead was that I would never skip a class and I would turn in every single assignment that was required for the grade. That’s it. I merely promised myself that I would just show up. Turns out, when you do this, you will get mostly straight A’s. This is my tip to anybody about to start their Freshman year of college. Just show up. Just do it.
I watched people struggle in every single one of my classes because of their excuses, and trust me, as a working single mom, whose soul DIES a little when I have to turn down a social engagement, or a romantic date night, or a lazy night watching TV, I relate! I have plenty of valid excuses not to do all my homework, turn in every assignment or show up to every class, but I did it.
I can’t tell other people what to do, but for me, showing up, has been the key difference between my first college experience, and this one. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if I had tried to take Statistics at my previous college, I would have failed, given up, or tried to drop the class. I know it. I did it with a lot of classes back then.
This time, I literally had to force myself to sit my butt in the chair and just do it, just try, just google it when I didn’t understand, just do the same stupid homework problem again that takes 20 stupid minutes to solve because I missed one tiny detail to get it right. I didn’t want to do it! I got distracted. It took me 6 hours to do work that probably should’ve taken 2 hours. I put it off to the last minute and I complained the whole time, but I showed up anyway and did it.
Listen, I know this doesn’t make me a genius. Nobody is going to hire me as a Mathematician any time soon guys, and that’s fine, but here’s some things that happened, by my forcing myself to just do this work.
- I met a requirement I need for my IBCLC that I’m studying for, hopefully to sit the exam within the next 2 years.
- I passed with a C, which isn’t perfect, but it is progress, and it was the hardest earned C of my life.
- I read an article on a study about the COVID-19 virus just now that used a lot of statistics terms and I UNDERSTOOD WHAT THEY MEANT.
- When the time comes in my career to make a decision based off of statistical information, I may not be able to form an expert opinion, but I will be able to form an educated one.
- I kept my word to myself.
And that’s the thing. I’m not the kind of person who is necessarily satisfied with a C. As you can tell, I work hard in most of my classes to get A’s. I’m a little Hermione Granger, and I do find it embarrassing when I don’t get things right. I am guilty of placing a lot of my self-worth in my idea of my own intelligence. I am guilty of not loving myself enough and judging myself harshly. There are plenty of leaks in this dam guys!
But I am telling you, that keeping my word to myself is the most delicious feeling. It’s a feeling I don’t want to forget. It makes every success and every “just ok” moment just drip with meaning.
I’m not really trying to encourage anybody to do things my way, nor am I deciding what works for you, or telling you what your priorities should be.
I do want to give you every encouragement to show up for yourself. You deserve it.