January 29, 2014

On failure.. and success

Three weeks ago in my Lately post I wrote that I was hoping for a letter I've been waiting for to arrive.. it arrived last week and it said exactly what I was hoping it would say! I got into a Master's program for School Library Media and Educational Leadership. I am beyond thrilled. With the arrival of this letter, I started thinking about how I got here. The road here was not easy.

To say that I didn't do college right would be an understatement. Looking back now, I never should have gone to college right away. I had no idea what college meant, I had no idea what I wanted to do, and I was in a very precarious state in my life. My first stint at college was abysmal. My poor grades from those first two years have followed me everywhere. For the record, none of this was a result of partying too much or staying out too late. The precarious state I was in was the result of coming out of a horrendous breakup that left me floundering and unsure of myself for a long time. I also struggled with a series of illnesses at the time (sinus infection, pleurisy, strep throat, mono) that kept me out of school and led my physician to declare me the "sickest young person he had ever seen", during my bout with a serious case of strep throat. Regardless, had I been doing what I should have been doing returning to school after being sick would have been fine. But I hadn't been doing what I was supposed to be doing and being sick made finishing out the year successfully virtually impossible.

I moved home. I went to the community college in attempt to salvage my GPA and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. But I couldn't get anything to stick. I was still lost and reeling and at this point, felt pretty poorly about myself since I couldn't hack it a 4 year university like everyone else I knew. I had basically given up that ideal college life that everyone talks about -- I didn't experience college the way other people did. In between the dark moments, I made two lifelong friends and have some wonderful memories but mostly, that part of my life is filled with a lot pain and regret. I spent a couple of years at the community college and tried to get into various nursing schools but because of my previous grades, most schools weren't having it. I was rejected a total of 5 times. And it sucked. I felt truly lost and at times, I wasn't sure if I was ever going to amount to anything. It sounds dramatic but when all of your friends are graduating and moving on to law school, or grad school, or the real word and you still haven't figured it out, it takes its toll.

Eventually, I took a semester off. Just one. It's not true what people say that you'll never go back or you'll never start if you don't go right away. That one semester off did wonders for me. When I went back to school at a four year university the next year, I finally got it. I had a major I loved, in a field I was excited about and I truly felt capable to do what needed to be done. I worked my ass off and graduated with 3.8 GPA, Magna Cum Laude, close to the top of my class. After years of failing, trying, and then failing again, it felt great. 

I'm writing all of this because the process to get into this program was a bit rough  and it reminded me not only of the painful years I had leading up to a fantastic ending, resulting in a job that while challenges me, has grown on me significantly but also of these truths:
1. Choices you make in life can seriously affect choices you want to make down the road. I tell this to my students who get privileges revoked, "if you want to have choices, you need to make the right choices".
2.  Pursue that which you wanted to be as a child. Seriously, I distinctly remember my grandmother gave me a copy of  Dr. Seuss's My Book About Me when I was little and just learning to write and one of the pages said, "When I grow up I want to be... " and I wrote librarian. Life coming full circle right there. 
3. "I may not have gone where I intended to go but I think I ended up where I intended to be.." {Douglas Adams}. I'm often struck by these words when I think about how choices I've made, both good and bad, have led me to my life now. A life for which I am incredibly grateful. 

If you made it to the end, cheers! It feels cathartic to write this down and maybe this post might reach someone who is also feeling lost and unsure. To those, I say keep on keepin' on. There are good things to come, I promise! 

Happy Wednesday, friends!


  1. Loved this post. Amazing that you are going back to school to be what you've always wanted. I'm jealous. A Librarian is a dream job for me too.

  2. So proud of you! I love how frank and honest you were in this post...we all go through struggles, but they make us better! I love also that you say in order to have choices you have to make the right choices!


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