Why It's OK For College To Be More Than A Four-Year Term

Why It's OK For College To Be More Than A Four-Year Term

Despite what you think, college doesn't have to be a four year thing.
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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?

Only 46% of people graduate from UMass Dartmouth within the first six years.

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.



Cover Image Credit: darrylepollack.com

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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Teaching Is An Amazing Career, It's More Powerful Than We Give It Credit For

Teaching is a career that is heavily overlooked — it is much more powerful than people realize.

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When it comes to teaching, it's not always easy or fun. But, let me ask you this: what career really is easy or fun all the time? Being challenged can beneficial. Otherwise, you are just going through the same routine over and over. Teaching will definitely keep you on your toes because there's always something happening.

People seem to think teachers just lecture on information that they hope their students remember for the test. You know what? Those people are dead wrong. Teaching is more than that. Teaching means having the passion and drive to educate children. Teaching is turning something dull to something that students will find more interesting and enjoyable.

Teaching is also about providing tools and other resources for students in order for them to succeed, especially the ones who tend to struggle in school. Being able to give those tools to help them accomplish their goals is extremely rewarding. A teacher will work with a student who is behind on his/her reading skills to have him/her be right at the level he/she needs to be by the end of the school year. Not many jobs provide a reward quite like guiding a student, if not more, to success.

Although it focuses on academics, teaching is not just about that. Sure, being an effective teacher is key, but there are other aspects that are just as significant. As a teacher, you also have to connect with your students. Knowing your students on a personal level is so important. The connection can build respect that will, in turn, help them to succeed. Plus, students spend more time with you on a day-to-day basis than they do with their parents — isn't that frightening? So, you have to be able to support them and let them know them that you are there for them if they are having trouble.

Additionally, that connection you build with your students can last a lifetime. You can witness the growth of a student right in front of you. In fact, I am still very close with some of my teachers from elementary school. Many of them inspired me to become a teacher. Because of those great bonds I built, I had the opportunity to intern with some of my past teachers, which was a rewarding experience for everyone. Being able to develop such a connection with someone so different in age is something that is so powerful and that doesn't come with many other careers.

Teaching is so amazing. There are so many layers and beautiful aspects to it. Again, it can be difficult, but it's also a lot of fun. Not many people can say they have fun and laugh every day at work. I also truly believe that not many other people can say their careers provide as rewarding of a feeling as teaching does. To be able to make such a difference in someone's life is an incredible thing. Teaching is my passion. I know teaching will not be only gratifying but something that will bring me pure joy.

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