Acceptance trumps change
May 4, 2007
I was recently going through a box of some old college stuff looking for items for my portfolio, when I found a journal I had attempted my freshman year. I tried to keep a journal for a lot of things I wanted to remember like trips to Europe and my senior class trip, but I rarely got beyond day two.
I made it three days with my college journal. I read each entry, enjoying my nervousness before the first day of classes, my observations about the people I had met, and my optimism for the next four years.
I also talked about how I wanted to change.
There's something about high school that makes most everybody cringe at the memories. At the time, it seemed like I had been having fun, but then I remember the separate tables at lunch, the politics of friendships and the teachers and coaches who took those jobs because they could not move on from their own high school glory days. High school is definitely a fascinating culture all its own, which is why there have been so many movies made that take place in high schools.
Those movies are usually pretty successful because every high school across America is pretty much the same and we all can relate to someone in the movie.
I have definitely matured from who I was five years ago; I would be a pretty sorry case if I hadn't.
But reading in the journal about how I expected to change, I realized how much I really had, mostly because I realized how I can wish for a change, but I could never force it.
Actually, the most important realization that I've had over the years is that change is not the answer to all my problems.
The best thing I can do for myself is to simply accept who I am, and what I can do.
I wanted to do and be a lot of things, and I think I set the bar a bit too high for myself my freshman year.
Though I didn't do bad, my expectations were so high that I was pretty much guaranteeing failure.
Failure makes people want to give up, but luckily I was too naïve to realize I could give up and drop out of school, or skip a bunch of classes or transfer to a community college.
Those failures were harsh as I was experiencing them, but in the long run, I think a bad grade or a lost friendship teaches you more than if things go well.
Failure is as much a part of the learning process as success is, and in my case I think it was more beneficial. By the last year of college, I had figured out a lot of stuff.
Now, as I look forward to my postcollegiate life, I have a lot of hopes, but I definitely know not to create expectations for myself.
Having my hopes fulfilled is a lot more exciting than completing tasks I have required myself to complete.
Cassie Rodgers is a student at UW-River Falls.