For as long as I can remember, school has been that thorn in my side that I could never quite reach to remove. I have felt the constant struggle to satisfy the social masses and my family but I have never quite hit the mark at school. The lack of concern or interest from my teachers further fueled my internal disgust of the educational system, and what the actual purpose of education was intended for. The idea of education, let alone higher education, was not an idea that I believed would ever pursue in my life. Higher education was the last thing that I ever envisioned after I graduated from high school. However, life threw me a curve ball and the possibility to return to the educational world was all that I could focus on. With fear in my head and ambition in my heart, I restated my educational journey. My determination for a better future has pushed me to be ready for college-level work. To ensure that I am college-ready, I made a point to meet with all my professors to guarantee that I was doing my work properly and I made a point to get an evaluation from Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to guarantee that I would be ready for anything that college threw my way.
Knowing that I am college-ready meant that I had to put my past educational disappointments away and focus on the tasks that I am faced with today. High school was a challenge for me because I was always behind in my classes. I struggled to learn the information properly and found retaining certain information very difficult. Asking teachers for help was pointless because they only forwarded me to a personal tutor which cost money that I did not have. Due to the lack in interest from both teachers and myself, I was switched to independent study for my senior year of high school and barely passed to graduate. Despite my poor experience in school, I did attempt to attend college at the urging of my parents. I enrolled in two semesters several years ago, but the experience was worse than high school. I was lost and could not keep up with classes assignments, which further confirmed my idea of the lack of need for higher education. Needless to say, I flunked out of both semesters of college and education took a back seat to the all mighty dollar. Getting a job and making as much money as possible was the only thing on my mind.
It was not until 2016 that returning to school was on my radar and meeting my professors and getting extra help was the focal point to my success in college this time around. In the Fall 2016, I enrolled in classes and decided that I would give it my all. I was going to attack my education differently this time around; I was going to work as hard as I could and put as much effort into school as I did when I worked. I have to admit that I was very scared of returning to school after so long. Many questions about failure swirled around in my head. However, I had unintentionally signed up in classes that had amazing professors. Jon Gould states in his book, How to Succeed in College (While Really Trying): A Professor’s Advice when he discussed how college should be great. “Instead, it will be the professor who helps you to appreciate how the language holds together, who encourages you to try to communicate in an unusual dialect even if you don’t know all the words, who inspires you to keep up with the subject” (17). I found myself utilizing all of my professor’s office hours and setting up additional meetings with them to ensure that I was on the correct path to the assignments. If there were writing assignments, I would have them checked by my teachers, Online Writing Center, and my English class aid. I would rewrite papers so many times, I thought that my teachers would throw me out of class for too many drafts. However, not a single one of my professors gave me any negative feedback about my fears or my multiple drafts. Instead, they encouraged me to write as many as I needed to so that I could feel comfortable with my work. Although this made me rewrite more, I found myself more driven than ever to write an essay six times if needed. Every paper I achieved an A, something that I never could do throughout my entire educational career. I knew that although I was still scared, I was ready to tackle college head on and nothing was going to stop me.
Once I created a relationship with my teachers, I sought out help from counselors and got tested for a learning disability to determine if something was not working right. It took a bit of time to complete enough of the testing so that the SAS (Student Accessibility Services) department could evaluate my results, but once they completed the evaluation I had a sense of relief. I learned that I did have a disability and that I would be allowed some minor accommodations to help me succeed in my education. Learning that I do have a disability, shed some light on my education past struggles. This was why I struggled and no one even knew that it existed, including myself. Knowing of this speed bump, I have found alternative ways to be able to keep up with the reading and assignments without falling behind. I have audio books that read to me and I can listen to them anywhere. This helps me to hear the content of a chapter and retain the information. With a cast of amazing and available professors, who encouraged me to do my best and reassured me that I was a good student, I was inspired to want to push through the fear and complete my first semester of college. I would have given up again if it was not for the positive support of the professors last semester, and their guidance to pointing me in the right direction to select great professors for my second semester.
Today, I face my second semester of college and I have faith that I will succeed. I still talk to my English teacher from last semester and she still has the patience to sit and talk to me. She reassures that I will be fine and that I can seek out her help anytime that I need help. This is my first paper for English 150, and I am right on track and making sure that I am on the correct path to achieve a good grade. Utilizing the Online Writing Center has been a great tool for me when I am unable to get a teacher, tutor, or if the school is closed for some great feedback. I have time to rewrite and make changes prior to the due date and manage my time properly so that I have ample time to get a rewrite done if needed. I am ready for college as long as I do exactly the same thing I did last semester and utilize all the helping opportunities that are available from my teachers, tutors, and classmates.
- Gould, Jon B. How to Succeed in College (While Really Trying): A Professors Inside Advice.
Chicago: U. of Chicago Press, 2012. Print.