Everyone should have a self-motivation story – one moment in their life where they did the thing nobody thought they could do, where they figured something out that nobody else could, where they triumphed in a bad situation. If you haven’t, then your moment will come. Be patient. Or, make one for yourself. Because it means something.
That moment can be a powerful reminder of what you are capable of. Here’s my moment and everything that lead me there.
I graduated high school at 17 years old and went straight to Lehman College to start my theater degree, because those were the days when I wanted to be an actor. I worked my butt off for one year, going to school full time in the morning and working part time at a video rental store in the evening. And then I made a very silly mistake. I got married.
It wasn’t a mistake to get married. My husband and I just celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. The mistake was that I didn’t realize what getting married would do to my need-based scholarship. Ah, the ignorance of youth. With my mother’s income, my father’s income and my husband’s income now factoring in as well as mine (despite the fact that my parents were unable to contribute much further to my schooling) the financial aid program I was in tossed me right out on my behind. In the middle of August, I was left to discover that I no longer had any way of paying for college.
So I dropped out. I figured I would try getting acting roles for a little while, and I would save up money to go back. That didn’t really happen, and soon I was working a full time job at a law firm as a receptionist and trying my best to get some money into a savings account.
And that was when I learned about the rumors.
There were a ton of people in my life, friends and family, that truly believed I was never going back to college. These were not the kind of people who stand close by and wish for bad things to happen to you. These were people that wanted the best for me. But they figured that I had made some bad choices, that I would never get back to a place where school was a priority for me, that I had made it so that I was stuck in place, that maybe, I’d never had any intention of going back. When I’d told these people I was leaving college, I had immediately followed it by saying that I would be returning, but those people didn’t believe in me. Or rather, they didn’t believe in me enough to know that my word was good.
They were wrong.
If I had made the choice not to go back, that would be my choice. But that wasn’t what I had said, and these people didn’t have the faith in me I would have hoped.
It took a long time. Lots of really hard work. But in May 2009, almost ten years after my first day at Lehman College, I walked into Radio City Music Hall with the rest of the graduating class of Hunter College, and I walked out a graduate, Summa Cum Laude, with a double major in Creative Writing and Media Studies. It was a long day to end a long journey, the culmination of five straight years attending school through the Fall and Spring Semesters, as well as both Summer sessions, full-time at night while I also worked full-time as a legal assistant during the day. And I made it through that day, despite being six months pregnant with my son, at the time.
So, what is this? A big braggy post? An ‘oh goody, I’m a smart person who works hard” humblebrag? Yes. But aren’t you…not supposed to do that on the internet?
But this is more than that. This is me remembering one of the most difficult periods of my life. And when I think of it, I remember how long it felt. How I felt like I would never make it out of the other end. Like I would be going to school for the rest of my life. And then I remember that despite being that tired, I made it through with flying colors. I didn’t give in to discouraging things people were saying about me, or give up when things got a little too sticky. I stuck it out and it paid off.
I need a reminder of this. Because this is how I remind myself what I’m capable of when something gets me down. And I think everyone needs something like this, something that makes you feel stronger. So what’s your story? Go ahead and share all about that moment where you took on the world and won. I want to hear it!