Today I want to talk about the FEAR OF FAILURE & EXCUSES. This one makes me anxious just saying the words. See, as older adults returning to school we have many more life experiences than those who are 17/18 years old. Those life experiences cause us to feel things and be concerned about things we were not concerned about when younger. We have learned that life can be tough and harsh at times. We have to compete with others who want the same opportunities (jobs etc). When we return to school we take all those experiences with us. This is where so many people do fail.
When we register for our first class we have all the best of intentions and determination. That is until reality pops its ugly head. We anxiously start our first class and realize “Oh Crap, all of this studying and homework and tests”, and work gets hectic “I have all these deadlines, reports and paperwork.” Now family issues begin, “My children need extra help studying, they have games to attend, school meetings, my husband or wifes job is requiring more time of him, bills need to be paid………” Friends are calling, “Hey we are having a get together with everyone and would live for you to join us”. Or your bff’s are having a crisis and begging for your help. Now your head is spinning and you are questioning what you have done. You begin saying to yourself “AM I NUTS TRYING TO TAKE ON SCHOOL!” or “I AM GLUTTEN FOR PUNISHMENT.” You might even say “I CAN’T CONTINUE LIKE THIS, I HAVE TO DROP OUT.”
SLOW DOWN. Do not make rash decisions because things have suddenly changed and take the easy way out. My University has a slogan that says “ONLY THE DRIVEN.” At first I did not understand quite what that meant. Now I do. What it means is that going to school as an older adult means you must have the drive and the ambition to go the whole nine yards to complete what you have started. How many times have we told our children, nieces and nephews how important it is to finish what you start? Well, it is the same for adult. We have also learned as adults how easy it is to eliminate what is difficult – to just plain quit. We do that because we are afraid to fail. FAILURE IS NIT AN OPTION. We hear successful people say that all the time. Well, it’s time to believe that yourself. Just because it gets difficult doesn’t mean you throw in the towel and say “Oh Well, maybe next time.” There may never be next time.
We all go back to college for different reasons. They may be: to get a promotion at work, you are a displaced worker who needs a new career, you may be someone who started college years ago and you want to complete your degree, or you are just someone who wants to better themselves and give themselves more opportunities. Whatever the reason, you made the conscious decision to walk through the doors of the university and register. Sure, you can come up with a million excuses to drop out, but after 4 years I have seen some of the most amazing students overcome amazing odds to complete their degree. Including me. (I’ll get into that in another blog). I have seen students get deployed to war during their fourth week of a quarter. You would think they would drop the class. NO, they completed the class online, overseas, while fighting a war. Ge’ez, tough to feel sorry for yourself after seeing that. Or I have seen a student whose husband battled cancer during her entire 6 years (Her Master’s Degree and she graduated with a 4.0!). I can only imagine how difficult those 6 years were for her. Dealing with his diagnosis, all the chemotherapy and radiation treatments, the surgeries, the sickness and so on. Not knowing if he was going to survive this hideous disease. SHE STILL GRADUATED WITH A 4.0!
We can all find reasons, rather excuses for drop out. But they are just that EXCUSES. We all fear failing, but only the weak fail. Ok, so you don’t graduate valedictorian or Summa Cum Laude. The point is that you GRADUATED! You walked that stage in front of your family and friends and hundreds of other people and accepted your degree. YOU WON! YOU SUCCEEDED! Every time yu feel like giving up, think about that. think about the joy and sense of accomplishment you will feel on that special day. Hold onto your dream, Dig way down inside and pull your strength up from wherever its hiding. Don’t be afraid to stumble along the way. we all do. Being a college student is not about perfection, it’s about FINISHING! It’s about the success of completing something that you started. It’s self-pride.
Eliminate the woulda, coulda, shoulda from your vocabulary and replace it with SUCCESS! Eliminate the poor me and replace it with I’M AWESOME! Eliminate the I can’t with the I CANS!
I will talk often about the balancing acts you will have to do. You can do it. Visualize graduation day often and KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PRIZE! 🙂
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