One of the biggest decisions I have made in my adult life was the decision to go back to college.
You see, I was one of the few students in my high school class, it seems, that chose to get a job right out of high school instead of going to college. I did enroll in college; I even signed up for three classes that first semester. However, due to my work schedule, and my complete disdain for anything to due with school, at the time, caused me to drop two of those classes; thus, only finishing one.
I didn’t take another class after that semester.
That was, of course, until two years ago, when I decided to return to school.
I’d spent five years away from school (longer, if you don’t count the one class that I finished), and in that time I’m pretty sure I forgot, just about, everything I had learned the previous 12 years I had spent in school.
I was not prepared to go back, nor was I too excited. To be completely honest, the only reason I went back was because I found out that I qualified for financial aid, which I could desperately use at the time.
So there I was, back in a place that I detested, to get my A.A.S. of Communication Media in Digital Video Production [I’m pretty sure it’s a fake degree].
Surprisingly, I didn’t hate it. Not at first anyway. I just had to remember why I was there.
Thanks to my [we’ll call it unique] degree, I’ve had the chance to take some pretty interesting classes, even ones that I will be able to use once I am finished with college.
So it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. That was, until I had to start taking my general education credits.
Last semester was the first semester that I had to take one, and I knew, even as I signed up for English 121, that school was about to change.
The class itself wasn’t all bad, I ended the semester with an “A,” and I really did learn some things; but, even with that being said, it reminded my of why I chose to go to work right out of high school instead of go to college. I’ve never really liked school, but, I have always been “good” at school. What I mean by that is, I don’t have a really hard time finishing homework assignments, I don’t really get nervous for tests, I’m just good at doing what needs to be done to get my grade and get out.
I got a 3.5 GPA in high school and I honestly don’t remember studying…Ever. And I’m not saying that to brag but to point out that just because I played the part well, the only things I liked about school were P.E. and sports (and even those only helped so much).
Herein lies my dilemma. Do I push through my last five general ed class (one of which is an internship) and graduate so that I can have that little piece of paper that will ultimately define my college career (whether I want it to or not). Or, do I quit, it’s not like I came back for the education [just being honest]. Of course, I decided I’d made it this far, I might as well finish.
So that brings me to what this is really all about.
This semester I bit the bullet and signed up for career math. Now, I’m not saying it this way because it’s math. Math was actually my strongest subject when I was high school and I’m still fairly proficient (my wife calls me her calculator), so I really wan’t too worried. I just figured it would be more of the same, just do the work necessary to get the grade.
Here is where I was wrong.
Up until this point, whether I’ve liked the class or hated the class, I can recognize that I’ve learned something in all of them that can be of value to me. That is not the case with math.
As I was doing my homework last night my temper started to kick into high gear. I don’t think like I’ve ever felt anything was more of a waste of time than that first homework assignment.
Why? Because I haven’t been asked to answer such basic (and I can’t emphasize basic enough) math problems since I was in 2nd and 3rd grade. I’m talking addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
So why would this bother me so much, you might ask.
It’s not in the fact that I was asked to solve these elementary problems in the first place, but rather, the fact that I have to show my work. Are you serious!
Problems that I could solve in 10 seconds in my head suddenly turn into 5 minute problems just because I have to take the time to write out the problem and then show my work as to how I get the answer.
Truthfully, though, I think what upset me the most was that I felt like, what did I spend 12 years (13 if you count kindergarten) in school for if I’m going to be asked to take this class once I’m in college.
Please believe me that I understand if you aren’t good at math and struggle with some of these things because that is how I am in other subjects, but, for the life of me, I cannot understand why I would need to take this class to graduate with a degree in Digital Video Production.
So, fighting back the urge the crumple up my paper and go in for the 2-handed, tomahawk slam into our garbage can, I finished the homework and turned it in.
Now as I sit here one day later, slightly less upset than last night (but still upset, nonetheless), I am beginning to understand an important truth.
That is, there will be times in our lives when we have to do something, or go through something, that doesn’t make any sense at the time. Maybe at the time it will even infuriate us, like my homework did to me last night. It might be something as small as taking a class that we think is a waste of time, or something as big as losing somebody that we are close to.
Whatever it is, when it happens, all we can think about is how unfair it is, and why does this have to happen to me.
I can’t tell you why any of these things happen, or why we have to go through these things; but what I can tell you is there is a reason, there is a purpose.
It is through these things that we grow.
It is just like if you’ve ever started working out after being out of shape. The first couple of days you are exhausted and sore, it feels like you’ve never used your muscles before in your life. But after a while it stops hurting and starts to feel good, and you start to feel stronger.
It’s the same thing.
As we are going through whatever it is, we feel like it is never going to end, but sooner or later we come out the other side stronger than we were before.
So I want to encourage you today. If you are going through something that seems unbearable, and you are having a hard time understanding why. Keep going, keep moving forward, you are closer than you think. And I promise, you will come out the other side stronger.
And if that doesn’t encourage you, hopefully Hebrews 12:1-2 will.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…”
I hope you have a great day.