I Was Ashamed For People To See Me Struggle
John Stossel said it best: "I was ashamed for people to see me struggle." The quote is near and dear to me, and serves as the premise for this lengthy, but personal post.
Let's rewind to the year 2011 - to the year I wanted to drop out of school. I spent countless nights scrolling on tumblr, crying myself to sleep and hating every moment I spent on campus. Before I begin, please know that this is a very personal story to me. By sharing my experience, I hope to inspire and provide hope to my younger brother, the future generation of undergraduate students, and anyone else going through a tough time - this one's for you.
Turning 18 is a pivotal point for any young adult. You're just getting comfortable in your skin, but you're also reinventing yourself as you enter a new chapter in you life. Believe it or not, but you've created an identity for yourself. I'm not saying you have to label yourself as a "jock," "nerd," or "hipster." All I'm saying is that by the time you've reached 18 years of age, you've developed a voice - your own set of morals, ethics and personal beliefs.
I entered university with the goal of graduating with a commerce degree in law and business and then furthering my studies by going to law school to fulfill my ultimate goal of becoming a lawyer.
My goal came crashing down within the first three months of the semester. My 18 year old self was distressed. I was no longer the smart, funny, go-getter who would become a lawyer - but instead, I was the stupid, failing girl who had no idea how to manage school, work and a personal life. I missed shifts at work, I was written up by my boss, and I was probably on the verge of being fired. In addition, I was pretty much failing accounting, statistics, and economics. Not to mention, I disliked math in high school and had a fear of doing any math related course in university - I guess that goes to show how powerful your thoughts are since it translated into how I performed in school.
Fast forward to the good stuff (err.. I mean, the bad stuff). After first semester, I was on academic probation and that was detrimental to how I viewed myself. Can you imagine waking up Christmas morning to see failing grades!? The smart girl I identified as was no longer "smart." I was ashamed of myself. I convinced myself that I didn't deserve to have friends, fun or to even be in school. I hated myself and how I was doing in life.
I was so ashamed that I never told a single soul about my academic performance until my final year. Up until then, I read self-help books, spent my Christmas break reviewing all the basics of mathematics, planned my upcoming years and made a decision to get involved. Getting involved really helped me to progress because instead of digging a hole for myself, I filled it with love and compassion. Ultimately, I created a support system from the groups that I joined and the friends that I made within them.
I never told anyone about my failures because I didn't want that to become a barrier to my success. I had this notion that if people knew that I was on probation during my first year, they would not see me as a smart, reliable or a capable candidate for anything. Even though people deny being judgemental, they still are. That's where self love and confidence comes into play. Just remember to never put all of your happiness in the hands of another, be true to yourself first and foremost, and the rest will follow.
Fast forward to 2016, here I am, graduating this Spring with my degree in commerce, ready to take on life. Oh, and as for my academics, I was able to push through and kill the rest of my semesters, (take that, adversity)!
I always thought that my CGPA would hold me back from landing a job because they always cut you off based on GPA, and you know what, I think that's a myth. Yes, some companies use that when they have a huge applicant pool, but nothing beats your wit, willingness to learn, personality and passion - these are the qualities that will make you go far. So, to my future employer, yes, I failed, yes, I was ashamed of myself, but I'm one hell of a candidate, but that's up to you to decide.
Overall, my life took a turn that year, and even though I was ashamed of myself, I taught myself three important life skills:
Everything I did throughout the last five years has positively contributed to the person that I am today. I have to give thanks to my failures because if it weren't for them, I don't think I would be the same. I learned a few other things during my journey:
You have to fall before you can fly
If you don't fall now, you will at some point in your life, and that's okay - the universe is just telling you to step back and re-evaluate what you're doing, and why you're doing it
Planning ahead and setting goals is super important - don't disregard it!
Everyone faces a different struggle in their life, and practically failing first year was mine. I know that a lot of people go through very similar and different adversities, so I hope this post allows you to open up and not feel ashamed of who you are. Embrace yourself, seek help and surround yourself with positive people. Don't constantly worry. Being a worry wart never helped anyone. So instead of being a worrier, become a warrior and take charge of your life, because believe me when I say, there is a a ray of sunshine waiting for you at the end of tunnel - you just have to find it.
If you've faced or are currently facing any personal troubles, please feel free to reach out to me. I would love to hear your story!