The College Dropout, No Kanye – Navigating Failure
A source of pride in my life has absolutely been my father’s service in the United States Army. He served over twenty years before his retirement in 2005. I lived the military brat life to the fullest – from enjoying access to restricted gyms and shopping experiences, to obtaining discounts for flashing my military dependent ID card . I took full advantage of the privilege that came with my father’s sacrifice.
The military dependent life also came with the consistent transition that occurred every three years, each time my father’s orders were updated. This translated to my attending four different elementary schools, one middle school, and two high schools in my lifetime. Now, if you don’t understand this life, let me ease some of your tension by letting you know I did well in each grade level and subject. I was well-adjusted academically and emotionally by all accounts.
I attribute a great deal of my success, in an ever changing location, school, and environment, to my learning style. I am primarily an auditory learner. Even to this day, in most conditions, I can listen to a lecture, sermon, or presentation, and remember each component and point. I rarely took notes since they ended up being a distraction from my intent listening. My mom often recounts homework time as the “five minutes I flew through whatever I was given to complete in each subject.” She said she would look over my homework in disbelief, saying to herself, “there is just no way you’ve finished all your homework that quickly.” To her surprise, it was complete and correct. I was always on honor roll, and frequently obtained awards for my grades.
In retrospect, I can see the blessing and the curse in my ability to listen and retain information. On the one hand, I was able to minimize studying to quick reviews prior to an exam. I never had to stay up all night to study for anything in my kindergarten through twelfth grade years. That is a blessing. The curse, however, is that studying ability and motivation is necessary to be successful in college – I lacked in each. In short, nobody told me professors talked for four hours about things not specifically or necessarily covered on an exam – or even pertinent to the class. Tangents, I tell ya.
Either way, my unwillingness to create viable study habits and commit time to learning material on my own ended up costing me. It cost me financially first. I won’t even get into my financial aid loan repayment situation, y’all just pray. It also cost me time – the one thing none of us can get back. I spent multiple semesters on academic probation and was even dismissed from a program due to my grades. I was let back in to another one; but, dropped out after becoming so frustrated with myself.
So there I was, The College Dropout – no Kanye. I didn’t really have a clear plan for my future; but, one thing I did know was that my ticket out of the less than decent paying job world would be an education. I was humbled, and not in the thank you for this award, I’m humbled by your outpour of love, kind of humbled. I mean I was defeated by something I had been considered a master of at every other time in my life.
Then entered the grace to try again.
I enrolled in a Bachelor of Business Administration program with a concentration in Marketing. I didn’t love every class. Actually, I didn’t like most of the classes. I was given the grace to try again, so I harnessed the grit to finish – and I finished. Only now since I have been afforded opportunities to participate in committees for start-up businesses and non-profits do I actually see the benefit of attending school for that degree program.
Slightly less obvious, I understand the reason behind my past failures. Failure points us to our ultimate destiny. While onlookers can be content with only critiquing our successes, we have to remain committed to fairly critiquing our own attempts, each one – success or failure. There is something to be learned in each instance.
The most valuable lesson I have learned is that failure is an event, not an individual. A failure may be tied to a negative characteristic or flaw I have; but, it is not indicative of who I am as a total person. I thank Potential for this realization.
Even if I fail one thousand times, Potential says, “you could succeed if you make your adjustments and try again.”
So, that is what I am encouraging you all to do, today. God has given us all the grace to try again. You may be asking, “well, how do you know this?” You’re reading this blog. Your life is still with you, which means Potential is still rooting for you. It’s important to learn how to navigate your failures so that you’re not stuck in the last place you tried for the rest of your life.
So go ahead, try again. This time could be different.
With love until next time,