After starting what I thought to be such a promising quarter at UC Davis, where I could finally shake my past demons and start to move forward towards finally getting that elusive bachelors degree, I was hit with an email just two hours into my first class three weeks ago:
"Academic Disqualification. We are planning to remove you immediately, please go to this link to set up a petition appointment."
Of course, that was the same day I had 5 classes, an interview, and an orientation for my internship.
So the day that began so well was changed in an instant because of one single email. I had committed myself to being more positive with things in my life, especially with myself. I deemed 2010 the "year of execution." I was determined with my goals and my priorities. To finally fix all that had gone wrong in the past and forget about it, move to a better future.
But the email came. I panicked of course. But I got through the rest of my day as best I could. I took pride in doing well in classes that at any point I could be removed from. I dove right into my internship, soaking up everything I could even though I might have to drop it for a real job at any point. I just kept going about my days, hoping for the best and performing the way I should have all along.
I did all they asked of me as far as petitioning my disqualification. I met with advisors, wrote statements, got an academic plan, reorganized my schedule. I waited nearly two weeks for an answer. And while I was still performing at the top level I could, I held back a bit. I did only the homeworks due the very next night, because I knew that any day I could get the final decision. I made the best of my unpredictable predicament, but eventually I needed to start forming a Plan B for what I was expecting would happen.
So I started to ask myself questions. Why was I sitting in the same situation as a year ago? Why is this potentially another college I won't have a degree from after thinking that would be the case? Those questions didn't give me answers. They gave me frustration and anger. So I asked myself different questions. Did I do what I wanted? When is the last time I made a decision based solely on me and not anyone else? When was the last time I was happy? When was the last time I felt accomplished?
Those answers opened my eyes. See, because the answer to all those questions revealed the true reason behind why these plans haven't worked. The last time I did what I wanted? When I went to ASU. The last time I made a decision based solely on me? I don't even know that I ever have. The last time I was happy? When I went on my roadtrip alone to Oregon and Washington. I was free, I felt like I was somewhere I belonged and that I was happy. The last time I felt accomplished? When I got into Washington's business school after dominating my business school admission essays. And then more answers started to come. Even when I did things that I wanted, they were always clouded by something else. I went to ASU to run away because I was too afraid of how close I was to everyone at home. I moved out because I was mad at my parents. I moved to San Diego because I didn't want to be here yet again and hated my job and wanted to go to school somewhere else. I came back because I wasn't ready for that. I moved out of my apartment because I didn't want to deal with my brother and the other family issues that were going on. I didn't go to Washington because I felt like it was the smart decision, the one that more people would agree with. I felt like it would make my Mom and my girlfriend and my friends happy. And all of that has led me here.
So, it isn't that I'm incapable of being happy. It's that I never allow myself to be because I'd rather make everyone else happy. I'm not blaming my family or friends or girlfriend. They all support and love me no matter what. What I started to realize in the past year is that while I may have held myself back for all of them, they didn't do the same for me. They've all taken trips they wanted, moved where they wanted and done what they wanted. But I haven't. And for the past 4 years, when I've convinced myself that I am happy, it never lasted because I really wasn't. I always felt like I was settling in some way. And past all the elitism that I had before about going to a better college and whatnot, it's just about being somewhere and learning something that I want to learn. I haven't done that.
Because I have matured. It doesn't mean I haven't still made stupid mistakes, but I am getting closer. And through all of this thinking, I actually hoped they would kick me out. Because I wanted one more chance to do what I wanted. If that means going to Washington, fine. If that means working and finishing my degree some other way, fine as well. It's not a race. It's not about where I stand in relation to others. It's about what I want and what I need to do. Advice is welcome, but I want to follow my own head and not let other people's wants and needs influence that anymore.
So now people ask me what I want. I have an idea. I'd like to get that shot at going to Washington. Not because it's far away from home. Not because it's a big city and it's cool. Not because I want to be a loner and isolate all my old friends. I like the curriculum of the school. I like what they teach. I like the atmosphere. I feel like my strengths would apply there, as opposed to Davis where I was stuck in a very mathematical and theory based major and curriculum. I like to apply real practices. I like to work with people and lead. So why was I keeping myself in a place where those things mattered very little, if at all? Of all the schools I've been to and have seen, University of Washington is the one that has spoken to me on every level of what I really wanted. Why did I deny myself that?
But the point isn't that I'm going to now set course for UW and make another plan destined to fail. Because right now, I can't tell you what I want. I know that right now I want a job so I can start to save some money and get a bit more comfortable. I'm enrolled in one class to truly finish all my general education stuff. Besides that, it's all open. For once I'm not scared or ashamed of that. I'm going to do things to open up some options down the line (apply to UW, look for jobs in various places, look at other schools I may want to attend in the future) and when the time comes I'll make a calculated decision. Not based on the wrong things, but on what makes me happy. Because in the end, that's what is really important. That is the measurable success of a person, if the decisions they made ultimately made them happy.
I have to think that all struggle has a purpose. That I will one day be handed a piece of paper that means so much more than a college degree to me. I know that day will come, because I'm going to make it happen.