She Believed and So She Did
May 16, 2012 § 2 Comments
Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States famously said,
“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
In September of 2010 I started college for the 3rd time, at the age of 33. To say I was rusty is an understatement. I have experienced some real successes and some real blows. I got As in math… I also got a C in math. I soared through some classes, and struggled my way through others. In Chemistry, the class I struggled the most in, I received an incredibly sweet email from my professor, in a highly redacted and edited clip here is the essence of what she said, “… even though you didn’t get a 100, your effort still shows… you never gave up trying to understand the material. You were a great student to teach because you never gave up. Don’t give up that effort as you continue your education.” I am more proud of that than almost anything else that I did. Well, that and the 5 weeks that I spent at Vassar. Not because it was Vassar, but because I lived in a stifling hot dorm, deprived of sleep, any comfort of home, and took 2 Ivy level classes as an essential freshman and kicked ass. There again, I had some significant personal low points, and it was a battle, but I did it.
I think that the thing that no one tell you. After it’s all over and the sighs of relief come, it’s easy to forget the incredibly low moments. The fight for your life. The reality of the work, the difficulty, the sacrifice, the cost, the toll, the difficulty… This is really hard. This is really stressful. It is not easy to be an adult non-traditional student. It is not easy to try to make life decisions about transferring when I have a husband, with a job, and a home… but this is where we are. I have done exceptionally well in some places, and I have had some areas of flat lining. I am learning how to achieve a greater equilibrium with every non-exceptional success. I am learning to swallow my pride and be realistic about what I am capable of. I am recognizing the incredible gift that a tirelessly supportive husband and family are. I am humbled to be in a nation that values education, and honored to be able to apply to the caliber of school that I have been able to apply to. This journey has been nothing if not a humbling honor.
I will also say that were it not for the advocacy and support of my professors at BHCC I would not be experiencing the same incredible success and opportunity that I am now. I am so incredibly grateful for that. I know that the years ahead are going to be much more difficult than the last two. But in a rare moment of contentedness I would like to say that as I walked out of my Chem final and closed the door of my car I cried with pride. I did it. I believed I could do it and I did it. I did not do it perfectly, it was not easy, and I was not a soaring success at every single thing, but I am so proud of my effort and integrity. And now, as we work out what the next step is, I am happy to take a moment to rest here, in this moment of success. There were so many times that it would have been easier to give up, but I chose to press forward. And it was difficult, and sometimes heartbreaking, and I didn’t always get a 100, but I never gave it less than my all, and I am so incredibly proud of that. “Press on.” The human race faces problems that need to be solved!