No Excuses, Please

When I went to college, I wasn’t really prepared for what I was about to face.  It’s not that I was a bad student in high school, I wasn’t…in fact, I was above average.  Of course, I struggled in math but I excelled in English and History, which made up for it.  Still, I was lulled to complacency, because no one ever actually challenged me to think.  I take that back, my drama instructor did.  She was always getting us to think, analyze and make decisions.

Many things contributed to my complete failure of a first semester.  Ok, so technically, I didn’t fail…but darn close.  It was bad.  One class, I just plain wasn’t ready for and didn’t understand.  But I didn’t ask for help, either.  Then there was the social fiasco of changing from one mentoring group to another, mid-semester (honestly, that was pretty traumatic).  Oh, and the skipping out of the Freshman Orientation class because I thought it was stupid.  I hated my vocal coach, because she was picking music that was really hard and that I’d never even heard before.  It was a big mess.  I was put on notice that if I didn’t get at least B’s the following semester, I would be asked to leave.  Ok, fine…I’d do what I had to.

I decided to get serious.  I wanted to sing and teach music, but wanted to do it on Broadway…or off Broadway…or something.  Or at least be able to be a music director in a school or church or something.  So, I went to my voice lessons, even though my teacher was a pain, I got tutoring help for one of the classes where I was lost, and sincerely tried to understand what they were saying in the theory class (I’d never taken theory, so I really had to work hard to keep up).  By the end of my Sophomore year, I’d brought my grades up to a B- average.  Thing is, though, even though I ‘really wanted to sing’, I never really practiced like I should…maybe sporadically, but not a couple hours a day.  I just kind skated along, thinking that it was just good enough.

The last day of finals of my Sophomore year was the same day I was moving out of the dorm.  As I was packing my stuff into my parents’ van, I got a phone call from my theory professor saying that he couldn’t find my final.  This was a 3 day take home exam which I had really struggled with and put INTO HIS HAND and watched him put into his briefcase.  But he didn’t remember that.  He had lost it. Oh, and if I wanted to get credit for it, I’d have to take it again.  Um….I don’t think so.  As a result of my decision, I ended up with a “D”.  A “D”.  I was so angry…it really wasn’t fair, I thought.

I’d been tossing around the thought of not going back to that college in the fall (for personal reasons), but at that moment, I decided that I definitely wouldn’t come back, and that I would change my major.  A few years ago, my choir director from that time (who was also my mentor and advisor), asked me why I quit and that he was disappointed, because he thought that if I’d just tried a little harder I would have been one of his best students.

I look back at that time and sometimes regret the decision I made.  I wonder what it would have been like if I’d just been stubborn enough to fight through the theory classes and practiced a bit more.  I wonder what I could have accomplished in the music world if I’d just worked at it.  But I’ll never know, because I let someone’s stupidity give me an excuse to quit.

This road I’ve chosen now…to be a marriage and family therapist…is no easier than the one I started down 23 years ago.  In fact, it’s probably harder to go down it now than it would have been then.  But now I KNOW what it is I want.  I have a clear vision and understanding of how things are and how I want them to be.  But it took a LONG time and a lot of discipline to get here.  I’m older, have more responsibilities and have major health issues, but I’m not going to let those things distract me from what’s really important.  I will do whatever it takes to get past the obstacles that lay ahead and refuse to make excuses.  I just wish I could get my daughter to understand this…maybe living by example will accomplish what lectures haven’t so far.

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One thought on “No Excuses, Please

  1. It’s hard not to regret or wonder if we had pushed thru something rather than quit or changed directions when we were younger. I just look at it this way- all the decisions, small or large, led me to having a wonderful husband, son and less than 2 years from being completely out of debt. I have some health challenges as well- but I wouldn’t trade my decisions back then for I may not have taken the road to be where 7 with whom I that I am.

    I have found that children, for the most part, will not take to heart your teachings as a parent until years after they have left home. When they attempt to do it on their own- then all of a sudden mom & dad were pretty smart. Carl just paid a hard lesson- not asking what the squeal was when he applied his breaks. He waited until it started grinding- costing him the cost of replacing the rotors, caliper and the breaks. He surprised Cary by asking for help to do the work himself. I think that can be attributed to the fact he moves out in less than 2 weeks & now he has bills and financial responsibilities that he hasn’t had to worry about before. Cary has tried to teach him things about taking care of the car for years. He is just now wanting to really learn. So- the lesson is now, but the awakening to what the lesson meant will come later. (hugs)

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