How is it that we’re only two months away from a new year? It’s amazing how quickly time flies by, and it seems like only yesterday I was entering 2012 with bright-eyed enthusiasm. Now, in retrospect, it seems like I’ve accomplished so much and yet not enough.
For starters, I did make it off the continent. I was in Europe! For two weeks! That’s pretty awesome, and it feels great that some of my perpetual wanderlust has been satiated. I helped with someone’s legal case, and I assisted in a political campaign, too. Work’s taken me on excursions around California, which has been fun. Plus there’s two cute pups I get to dress up, so life’s great.
Also, I re-took the LSAT, and came to some important decisions regarding my life and career goals. Growing up, I drank the “academic success is bliss” kool-aid. I was convinced that somehow, success would come only if I made it to the right school. Despite my environment and in some instances, teachers actively discouraging me, I managed to avoid becoming yet another stereotype.
And then stagnation happened. Any attempts to move forward with my future were squashed by the persistent nagging belief that I couldn’t measure up to do any bit of good. It’s really hard to come to peace with letting go of a bit of “wisdom” that you premised your whole life on to move forward. Success comes from taking action, and that’s about it. There is no “right” school, there is no “right” career choice for you.
What I mean by that is simply: if you want to be successful, you will be. Over time, all that matters is believing in yourself long enough and hard enough to make things happen. I pushed through academically in spite of what people were telling me because at the time, I believed in me. It didn’t matter that my teachers thought I’d be another statistic, and that it’d be pointless for me to be in advanced classes because I was going through the public school system and I’d get knocked up and drop out. Granted, if you hear the “you’re worthless” tune long enough, you might start to believe it, but at the time I didn’t because I was going to prove them wrong.
I hadn’t realized that I believed in me conditionally, though, and when the conditions weren’t met was when things gradually began going awry. I’d done a lot, and in the twenty-seven years I’ve had on this planet I have done some incredible things, but I didn’t see it. When you can’t see what you’ve got, it’s really easy to give in to the self-doubt and accept that it’s true, you’re worthless. The second that happens, you may as well sign up to actualize that self-fulfilling prophesy. If our education system is ever going to actually educate at-risk youth, it’s going to have to start by valuing them first. The problem is they’re already at the desperate point where society’s told them they’re worthless, and they don’t see any reason to fight it.