College was sort of a wake-up call when it came to academics.
I never struggled with school. I could walk into a test without even studying and still do well. I became so accustomed to the 80's and 90's stamped across every graded assignment I got back.
Then, everything changed when I got to UMass Dartmouth.
My first semester went great. I was on Dean's list and still did fairly well. I noticed pretty quickly that my not so study habits wouldn't fly, so I had to buckle down.
Things did not go as well for me anytime after that.
My second semester was a lot of struggling. I had five classes that ran Monday Wednesday Friday, one after the other. "It'll be no big deal", I thought to myself, "I went to high school from 7:30-2 every day and never had any problems". Slowly, the 8 am class dragging on to the final release at 3 o'clock got to me. I ended up doing alright, but not as well as I had hoped.
This past semester was when disaster struck. I finally realized that I couldn't bury my personal problems any longer and I had to make a decision on what I needed to treat. I tried to balance my self-help, trips to the counseling center, and time hitting the books all at once. My inner demons got the best of me and completely consumed my will and energy, and because of it, I only passed one of my classes.
That's right. You read it correctly. One.
I beat myself up about it for weeks. I have never felt like such a failure in my entire life. The thought of not finishing school in four years seemed like the end of the world.
Then, my dad said something to me.
"It doesn't matter how long it takes you, as long as you finish. Who said you had to finish school in four years?"
And he's right.
You've heard from such a young age that "college are the best four years of your life" and "not four years but for life", but how many of us actually finish in that amount of time? And so what if it takes us longer?
So, what if it takes me five? Even six?
There are so many things you can do with your extra time at school.
Join a club, start a club, take on a minor, travel, study abroad, explore yourself and your mind. Cherish the time and the people you spend it with.
To quote that cheesy phrase we've all seen on Tumblr, "It does not matter how slow you go, as long as you do not stop". As cliche as it is, it's true.
The amount of time it takes for me to finish does not determine my worth.
I will get there. I can do it.