For most of my academic life I’ve indulged in the priviledge curse of not being challenged enough. Not having to put too much effort into my degrees because for the most part what I chose came natural to me; writing and literature. I can honestly say that I’ve not experienced much true competition in life. I was not good at many sports, and to this day I’m anti-confrontation in more than one sense of the word. I attended City colleges and universities with minimal requirements in terms of admission. It didn’t take much to get accepted. The awesome thing about City college/universities is that they try not to turn people away, they want to be all-inclusive. It was an ideal start for me in 2004, as an immigrant with no real status in the United States. Eventually I got a merit-based scholarship, but the college work was easy peasy. I was an Honor’s Graduate (a great achievement- I sat on stage during graduation) but at an Associate College level, generally not very hard to do. What was the trade-off of my undergraduate education? Did I sacrifice a rigorious course load, professors who push and intimdate students to the point that they become more than sheep sitting in a classroom, and the opportunity to hear someone say “You went to SuchandSuch school, that’s impressive!”? I’m not sure, and I guess I will never know.
I’ve coasted. But a new leaf has turned.
My emergence into the Speech Language Pathology field was a little naivee. I really thought as a degree-bearing student the learning would come easier to me. But it’s been a ride, and last fall I was definitely in for a rude awakening. Last semester’s courseload made me question whether or not to even continue because if I struggle in undergraduate classes then how can I really expect to survive graduate school? Now that Graduate School decisions are still in reserve, and my future is in the hands of faculty-committees who decide if someone looks great on paper, and presents themselves with what they think it takes to be a successful clinician I wonder if I’ve been pushed to my potential in life. And if institutionally (or academically) I haven’t been pushed to my potential in the past then is there a way for ME to push myself now? Right now, when it matters most?
I’ve met my First Real Competition. I don’t know if Graduate School acceptance can be crossed off the short-term goal list yet. But, it’s not over.