“Why is it taking you so long to graduate”? is the question I receive on the daily as of late as well as the recurring self-assessment which perpetuates my already skyrocketed anxiety levels.
“I took the minimum amount of credits each semester and just didn’t time it right” is the bullshit answer I usually give to save face from the reality of admitting that I did nothing more than fuck up, pretty much entirely on my own accord I might add.
For all intents and purposes, I have failed in many ways. I failed both literally (as in the case of anthro, and algebra, among others) and personally by letting my ambition and goals land in the toilet alongside the Smirnoff and Jungle Juice that I could never force myself to keep down. One semester of drunken and delusional choices turned into years of falling behind and living in denial about my impending future after college.
In following my usual routine of abandoning my library dates with stacks of critical theory books to stumble through musty beer-soaked basements with horny frat boys, I found myself falling so far down the well of academic doom that I simply couldn’t muster the strength to scale back up that bitch of a hole which I un-gracefully face-planted myself into.
To further desecrate my chances of having an Instagram-worthy post graduate future, I optimistically took on the position of the psychotic micro-managing bitch some chapters refer to as the Recruitment Chair. Naturally, between organizing workshops and rush events and pulling all-nighters to binge-search the depths of the internet for other chapters’ confidential recruitment guidebooks (not sorry), I was unsurprisingly unable to cultivate the necessary time, energy, or sobriety required to complete my arduous abundance of school work.
This caused me to routinely engage in the same pattern of Burnett’s and rush-burnout induced collegiate delinquency until I subsequently spiraled into a severe depression that left me feeling worthless, unaccomplished, and regretful. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve debated dropping out of school to pursue a full-time gig as a sugar baby/plastic surgeon’s receptionist (to be fair, free boobs sounded tempting). Yet, somehow I didn’t. By some miracle that I imagine was administered only by Yeezus himself I decided to not give up even if it meant facing the ridicule of being a fifth-year (or plus) senior and a self-proclaimed failure.
Every day is a struggle and some days when I’m really anxious and stressed I find myself reverting back to my old habits, but the difference is this time I catch myself before I fall back down that dark and suffocating place I once knew. I no longer let my mistakes dictate my current state of living because I remind myself that I am so much more than those mistakes. We all are, no matter how reckless, embarrassing, or shameful they may be.
You are so much more than that 57% you got on your last exam in the class that you are certain you are already failing. You are more than the drunken hookup that you had with that guy who took advantage of you and used you for bragging rights with his brothers. You are more than the formal dress that no longer fits your child-bearing, Chick-fil-A loving hips. You are more than the mortifying stumble on stage that you took in front of the entirety of the Greek community while hosting your chapter’s philanthropy event. You are more than the opportunities you missed, the risks you should have taken, the things you wish you hadn’t said, the people you didn’t mean to hurt, and the poor choices that you consciously made. No matter how much you might believe otherwise, you are not a failure because of your mistakes. You are, however, a victor for overcoming them and thus, you are also a stronger, wiser, and more resilient woman because you have endured them.
I like to believe that through adversity we gain a new sense of self which allows us to create the path that we didn’t know that we were supposed to be on, but that will ultimately lead us to the greatest destination. Honoring that mindset makes it easier to move forward from your mistakes, regrets, and failures although it does not in fact, make them go away indefinitely. You will always remember that hard fall you took which left you seemingly incapacitated and defeated and that’s okay, as long as you don’t stay there. The only real mistake you can make is deciding not to get back up because once you do, you’ll realize that everything is going to be okay, that even while you were engulfed in darkness the light was always there, you just didn’t look up to see it.
So throw your head back like you you’re throwing back tequila shots and take a good look up from that miserable ditch you fell into because although the way out may seem far when you’re perched on the ground, I can assure you that when you make the decision to stand up you will be pleasantly surprised to realize that you are already half way there..