motivational monday.

Monday, January 28, 2013

On Tuesday of last week I began my graduate classes, and I had never felt more miserable about it. Over the past 2 weeks I had become so acclimated with my new job that the thought of something cutting it short everyday was borderline upsetting. I really looked forward to the work, as opposed to the end of the day as I usually did in most jobs. I felt comfortable, at home even, and here school was to implant a lump in chest that just wouldn't give. Last semester had been a self-sabotage with me not even being mildly interested and spending my time spacing during class and counting down the minutes instead of paying attention and doing what I had paid $30,000 a year for: learning. For the life of me, I could not make myself care.

I thought about the fantastic weekends during winter break that I had thoroughly enjoyed. I liked spending my weekends and evenings doing what I wanted to do-- running errands, watching Dr. Who before bed, relaxing, and doing whatever I darn well pleased. It was a step closer to the ever-looming adulthood. A step up and out and away from the clutches of school. I had been educationally numb since graduation and had chosen to do the only thing I knew how to: keep learning. Keep up the daily routine of classes and overpriced textbooks and "student life." I tried to ignore the fact that I was completely uninterested in my classes and just floated along. Until this very second I cannot remember a single thing I learned last semester. 

I took a seat in the back of the class and buried my head in my phone as my classmates talked about their vacation tan lines and excitement toward their other classes and tried to hide my disdain for being back on campus instead of my comfortable desk chair buried in mounds of fascinating projects. The class began and my stomach lurched forward as I read the question in bold type on my professor's slide: "What made you choose this profession?"

Was this a joke?! My mind scrambled about, I didn't have a clue anymore. As my classmates around me answered I realized that I had chosen it because, at one time, I wanted to help those around me. I had needed to help those around me. I was the mediator, the arbitrator, the person who had to constantly keep everyone happy. But I wasn't that person anymore. Somewhere along the way I finally realized that it was not my responsibility to be that person. I was only in charge of one person's happiness: my own. I had laid my referee whistle down for good and the weight that lifted off of my shoulders brought me back to life for the first time in a long time. I was finally content, happy, and were over problems and conflict. I finally learned that there's so use in dwelling on things, and for once I was simply living. Tomorrow was always a new day. Arguments and mindless conflict no longer tortured me, they passed right by me. I could honestly say that, for the first time ever, I was different-- different from the person who had signed up for these classes last year.

As I sat in that class for a painful 2 hours staring at the clock, I already knew what I was going to do. I knew I wasn't to do those papers or go to my other classes, or even go back Iona. I didn't want to be the person who miserably went to class each night. And I knew that if I stayed I would be.

Before I formally withdraw, I kind of sat there for a long while thinking about it-- what will everyone think? Will I disappoint them? Will they think I'm a failure or that I just gave up? And then it hit me. Who cares what they think? Who cares what they would do in my situation when I know what I want to do, I know what makes me happy? This was the first time in probably my entire life that I can honestly say that I didn't fight myself about it.

So, after much thought and complete and utter self honesty, I grabbed my courage and withdrew from the graduate program. And it took a matter of seconds. Before I knew it, the lady who was helping me out was telling me "good luck with your future endeavors" and I was no longer a college student. My heart kind of dropped as I stood there, as if I had missed a step on the stairwell. For as long as I could remember I'd been a student and here I was, not. But those moments of fear of the unknown didn't hit me as hard as the inner content I truly felt. I was free, but most of all I was happy. That lump in my chest finally dissipated; life was really beginning.

If there's one thing I want you to take away from this it's that, people are going to think whatever they want to think and react whichever way, but if you can live with your decision at the end of the day, if you feel that you can confidently follow it through to the end-- consequences and all, then just do it. Don't let what anyone else thinks affect your emotions or your decisions-- be an adult and accept that, hey, it may not go as you'd like it to, but if the worst that can happen is you being happy while everyone else looks down on you, how bad could it really be?
And maybe I'm just plain lucky for getting such a positive reaction from everyone (my parents were *surprisingly* very okay with it & my boss took it better than ever), and maybe it really was a situation that could have gone in an entirely different direction, but, at the end of the day, I was happy with my decision and, to me, that's all that really matters. If it didn't work out then, guess what, I'd try something else. But there's no point of sticking to something that doesn't make you happy, simply for the sake of staying with it-- whether it be school, a job, a person in your life, or what have you.

I suppose I really have changed. If this was me a few months back I doubt that I would have had the courage to withdraw, let alone even think about it, no matter how miserable I was. Talk about my first big adult decision!

But in all seriousness, if you're on the fence about something, or so miserable that you want to cry, please, please take that leap in the direction of happiness. If you have people close to you telling you no and your heart is telling you yes, then just do it. And if you fail then, guess what? At least you tried and got out there & did something to better yourself, to better YOU. And maybe, just maybe, it'll put you on track to brighter days. And if you fail, always remember, tomorrow's an entirely new day with more possibility than the last. Do it. Make your dreams happen. Take a leap of faith. Go out on a limb and JUST DO IT. Let all of your excitement and fear fuel your inner fire and make it happen. You can do it. Happiness is always within reach. Now go take a chance. I promise, you won't regret it.

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