“We learn from failure, not success.”
As humans, when we want something in life, we want in now! We want to be rich now, we want our problems to go away now or we want to be successful now, but nothing great happens overnight or without error. Personally, I feel like my greatest achievements are only great because of the amount of time, hard work that was put into it and the hardships that I had to face. One in particular that comes to mind is my college experience. When I first left Houston to attend the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, I thought I had it all figured out.I just knew for a fact that I would get my degree in four years and be on to Los Angeles to start my acting career just like that. I’m laughing now just thinking about it. (Where was this money to go to LA going to come from?) “This is going to be easy,” I thought. At that point, I couldn’t understand how people quit, fail out of college or let life get in the way of graduating. Well I guess you can say that I thought completely and utterly WRONG. At each phase of my college career, I was faced with one or more of those situations at the same time. I didn’t finish in four years, but instead I graduated in around six. I was on academic probation a few times and even lost my financial aid at some point. The only reason I was able to attend school one semester was due to the fact that I was in a car accident where the other driver was in the wrong, so they had to pay up. Many call it luck, but I call that GOD. Although, I was screwing up my future trying to keep up with fake friends in the club, God had bigger plans for my life. Honestly, the hardest part about college was not the school work (statistics did have me crying a few nights though), but your biggest obstacle is yourself. In high school, I was considered the good girl. I didn’t go to parties, stay out late or give my parents too much of a headache. Sometimes I would even get laughed at because my mom was still punishing me and taking my phone at 18 years old, while other kids dared their parents to do either (I thank her for her hard parenting style today). My first two years of college, I had a boyfriend so I still didn’t participate in partying or making any new friends. However, once that relationship ended, I became a different person. I was in the club so much that my friends and I were getting in free, getting free bottles, and even had access to sit in the club office if we wanted to. I was way too busy trying to keep up with everyone else. I don’t have to tell you that my grades quickly began slacking and my priorities changed. All of a sudden, the only time I cared about school was when my grades were about to come out. One semester, I skipped a class so much that I honestly couldn’t even remember what day it took place. It was as if I didn’t care and I was becoming one of those professional students. I was only in college just to say I’m in college, which was sad because I wasn’t dumb. I just wasn’t putting in any effort. As time went by, all of my friends began to graduate and I was still there doing the same thing. I remember telling one of my cousins what my plans were one weekend and she responded with, “You’re still doing stuff like that?” That question really woke me up. She was right, why am I still doing the same things? Why am I still in school?! I decided right then that it was time for me to realize what was important and finish school. It wasn’t easy to dig myself out of that hole that I put myself in, but it made it so much more worth it. I had to write essays to the financial aid counselors basically telling them why they should give me money for school. They didn’t always approve and it forced me to take one class at a time and pay out of pocket, but it did teach me a lesson. I also used the little money I received from the settlement to pay for school so I didn’t even have a car at this point. There were times I wanted to just drop out because that would’ve been the easy thing to do, but what would all of these years in school mean if I had done that? Somehow, God always made a way for me to do what he planned for me to do. I had to finish and I eventually did. During my last semester, I wrote one more letter to the financial aid counselor and they approved it. I finished my last semester with a 4.0 GPA. Unfortunately, I could not say the same for my overall GPA, but that’s the consequences of my actions. Today, I look at my degree and see what I overcame and how anything is possible. When I get discouraged, I think about my college journey. Yes, it took me six years, but I finished. This story could’ve turned out very differently if God had not shaken me awake, and my degree means so much more because of the journey it took to get there. Did I screw up? Absolutely. Could I have done things differently? Of course. However, my journey is my own. I don’t think I would have learned the same life lessons had I not messed up so badly. So for anyone out there who’s going through hardships right now, just keep your eyes on the bigger picture. You may fall or you may veer off track, but as long as learn from your mistake then that mistake had some meaning. It’s important to not get caught up in what other people’s journey looks like. That has absolutely nothing to do with you. Some of my friends finished school in four years, but that’s not the plan God had for my life. Although I made some mistakes, God makes none and I know now that I am right where he wants me to be.