Graduation Tales

Well graduation has passed and a whole new generation of people are probably skipping summer to plan their futures. I had a plan after graduation as most do, but alas life happens and plans change, so here is my story. It may not speak to you or relate to your tale but for those it does, I want to be that friend that says it is going to be okay… You know when that pressure sets in to save the world after walking off with a pretend case representing your hard work, sacrifices, investment, and all of what you choose to do on this earth for the rest of your life. No pressure right. I’m not into those inspiring speeches, because not everyone’s situation is the same and can be overcome with positive thoughts, just take it from a positive, joyful person like myself, sometimes you have to face reality and focus on real solutions.

First solution: Find out what your definition of success is. Has the years of hard work been based on others definition of success or your own? Because you will have to live with what you invest in, others not so much. What if you don’t receive the career you worked for right out of college? Will you feel worthless or widen your definition of success? Some may say being kind and a good person is their version of being a successful human being. My definition of success is to always be growing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. When one of those are out of balance then I focus on it. I do not define success on where I work or the time it takes to find a career. I define success on how I am with or without others definition of success. I assure you my friends would not describe me as being just good at my job, although they have, the description would be more focus on tenants of my nature and care for all my relationships.

Second solution: Find others that share your definition of success and listen to them over the other voices. Not that you have it all figured out and should only listen from those alike, just don’t let others push their way of life on you. Especially if it is not how you envisioned yourself living. These people can be close to us; friends, family, and educators. If they do not know what your heart desires, then just politely listen and bravely explain your definition of success as your path may not be as smooth as theirs, it is yours to walk, not them. Those who care more about what you want will not dare loose hope in you just based on a path that looks different from theirs.

Third solution: Do not give up on dreams just because you do not get to fulfill others’ expectations. Give your dreams new life with a different path set in motion. When I read stories of those I admire, their past is less paved roads and more roller coaster rides with broken rails and dangerous waters beneath. “Beautiful people don’t just happen.” If your path was smooth till graduation then don’t assume running into bumps is a bad thing, it may be the path used to shape you into a true success, more than you imagined the first time.

This is all I have for now, from changing my path. I would have kept my original path envisioned if my physical health was balanced with the measure of success, but then I would not know what I know now in learning from a new path. I also may have missed the enjoyment of new opportunities from broken plans.

My original plan was to fiercely go after what I was always meant to do, and land the job with all trimmings. My plan was broken, and the path was changed due to a car wreck. Some are able to keep on their path from these bumps but that is not the case in my story. I tried to stick to the original plan but the path made less sense as time went by dealing with physical limitations. My health background includes dealing with chronic back pain from a surgery years ago that I managed. I have always pushed through pain and worked hard to achieve my goals. This time was different. I had to come to terms that I had real injuries and the back pain from before was the least of my problems. I had to realize that I was not a failure for not physically being able to stick to my original plan. I had always been taught to “just do it”, and tough times make tough people. But what does it help to get the job you want if you can’t physically work it? I had to change my plan and give my dreams new life with a different path.
I remember my non emotional self crying in my adviser’s office because I physically couldn’t stay awake to complete my assignments. My body was shutting down from following the “just do it” mentally, and demanded to be cared for above my studies. The path of withdrawal was never a path I envisioned, but that path gave the rest needed to end my last semester with honors and perfect scores during my Internship with a school and supervisor I may not of gotten from the previous path I was on.

The lessons from a different path I believe molded me into a better version of myself. I, with the huge amounts self motivation and discipline was struggling to care towards my studies. I had never had the problem of completing work before, even with dealing with the average college procrastination. This was a new kind of evil in my eyes to overcome, this lack of energy, desire, and care for all I had worked for had to be dealt with. Honestly when you are in pain, your care list becomes very short. So I focused on my health despite what others said I should be focusing on.

Through this I learned not to judge other people’s issues no matter if I could see them or not, rather they be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, I had become more sympathetic in which I was lacking before. I would pass out after any day of work and learned to skip meals because I didn’t have the strength to cook or eat. I would not look at others thinking they had all the time in the world anymore. I would now understand that one student who didn’t care and had trouble finding self motivation. My focus on academics being strong as it is allows focus on all aspects of a student’s well being while having academics goals be met through the issues naturally. I would of not of understood all of this if I went on that original path though.

Onto Internship, the injuries were not gone despite the time that had passed, so I prayed and prayed for the energy I once had to come back just for this time. I don’t know if I was more fearful of people seeing my weaknesses stemmed from hidden injuries and thinking I must not have passion for my calling, or that because I didn’t act as if I was dying that people would assume my lack of energy was from laziness. It may of been a little of both. Only by the grace of God did I make to my graduation. Others would not of noticed a difference in me for they did not know me well enough and may of never seen a issue, but I felt it. Through it all my heart did not change in doing what I love. Everyday was fueled by students and teachers growing my passion even deeper.

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I am not willing to sacrifice my health nor did I work all these years to give my students only 60% of myself. I will walk the path of patience for now till I am able to walk on another path allowing that once fierce drive, fuel my desire to be a full time teacher. The path of accepting subbing or other work, and not going after the career till I am able is the hardest but wisest decision I have had to make recently. I would also say every time I tried to apply, something would stop me. God knows all that I need more than I do, and this time he was saying I need to slow down. Would waiting till my body was completely healed to do the job as I envisioned really be a tragedy anyways? Others will never have the hope of healing and living out their dreams.

My dreams now have new life with a different path probably better than the original plan. Whether your bumps in life be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual please keep growing and changing the path your walking till you find the path you want to walk based on sacrifices you alone are willing to make.

Here’s to Keeping it Real

~Ms. Shawna

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