Sunday, October 21, 2012

An academic failure I am

Because I'm not a TOTAL absolute loser with no friends or social life, I went out this evening with a good friend of mine to celebrate one of his friends' recent engagement.  I got to talking with some new people I'd never met before, three young women who were all in the final months of their PhD programs in Neuroscience and Biology.  They were all my age, 27-28 years old.  I got to thinking about how different our lives are.

They are just graduating and are just now starting their journey into the professional field of working and doing the 'grind'.  At age 28.  Meanwhile, I've been working almost nonstop since graduating high school at 18 with a few temporary part-time jobs along the way, have been working in my industry of choice for 5 years now, and I'm basically at the peak of where I hoped I would end up someday.  While I'm thinking of things like job flexibility, maternity leave, buying a house, and the idea of having kids in the not-so-distant future, these women were just starting their lives.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's a bad thing.  I'm actually quite envious that they got to spend so much of their lives learning something that they're passionate about.  I'm jealous when I hear people talk about the groups they belonged to in college, or what they're planning to write their thesis about.  It all sounds so scholarly and fun compared to working full time and paying the bills.  I remember, looking back, how I was on a path to go to a four-year college and get my Bachelor's but it just didn't work out for me.  I started out trying to get a degree in Equine Industries Management and left that school after the first semester.  I moved on to Criminal Justice and couldn't even handle one class because of how sensitive I was.  I then did Nursing and ending up being kicked out of school for failing two dosage calculation classes in a row.  I moved to San Diego, got a job in the game industry, and found success.

I think I'm envious because for all the successes I've had in my career, I've had even more failings as a student.  I couldn't manage to get good grades in high school because my head was in the clouds and my priorities were all over the place.  Even after moving out here and paying my own way into a community college, I didn't finish my first semester of 3 classes.  Am I just not an academic person?   I don't know what's wrong with me.  Failing is not really something I've ever been satisfied with, and the only thing I have consistently failed in has been all efforts involving school.  Even if I were the CEO of a successful company, I'd still have this hole in my heart where all my academic failures taunt me.

If I could go back 15 years in my life, this is what I would do:

  • Apply myself in school, get great grades, take all the requisite classes to get into a good school.
  • Go to a great school for something like Computer Science or Veterinary Medicine.
  • Eaten more wholesome food, cared for what I was putting in my body.
  • Spend less time worrying about boys and more time studying.
  • Learn the concepts of feminism earlier so they can guide my life from an earlier age
Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with myself and where I am.  I'm also proud of those girls I met tonight for sticking to their program for so long and coming out alive on the other end.  Life is short, and we only have so much time to spend doing the things we want.

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