I remember feeling so lost and very scared. Nervous, I guess. It was the first time things weren’t set and prepared and planned out for me. And I didn’t like it. I worked hard. Well, hard enough I guess. I wasn’t a completely pathetic student. Good grades didn’t come easily for me. Those C’s that were a result of others slacking off were the result of my all nighters. I’m not naturally smart. And that’s okay. But I never expected not to get into college. I always just assumed that it was a guarantee. Now, I knew I wouldn’t get into UNC or Duke, but I figured I was safe. But when my safety schools were sending me “i’m sorry” letters, I started to panic. I had failed. And I had no one to blame but myself.
I remember sitting up late at night in my room. I had gone to bed hours before, but sleep never came. My heart felt tight, and I had to fight back tears. I always lost that fight. I wasn’t sure which was worse, the fact that I would be stuck in Raleigh while all my friends went off to experience new things or the fact that I would be letting my parents down. Out of five children, how could I be the only one dumb enough not to get into college. Would you like fries with that?
Applying to colleges and being rejected hurt worse than a break up. And to me at that time, that was a big deal. They didn’t want me. I wasn’t good enough. Somehow, I ended up getting accepted to a couple schools. They weren’t what I wanted, but I would take what I could get. beggars could not be choosers. Before classes started I made the decision to work as hard as possible so I could transfer to the school of my choice. But once I settled into the campus I tossed the idea of just giving up and staying where I was. That’s lazy, I told myself. I worked as hard as I possibly could. I made very few friends and spent very little time outside of my dorm room. I aced classes. No. I mean it–I had straight A’s. I’d made the A/B honor roll a few times in my academic career, but I never made all A’s. There’s really something to this whole working with a purpose thing, I thought.
When my big fat letter arrived, I cried. It was a different kind of cry than the tears I’d grown so familiar with over the last year attending a school I was miserable at. I had accomplished something I set my mind to. I made something I wanted happen. I was rejected and worked my way in. I’d never done anything like that before. And it felt amazingly.
I feel a lot like I felt when I wasn’t getting into colleges. But the worst part about it is I’m letting the fear or the rejection stifle me. It’s not that I’m working hard and getting shot down. I’m letting the shoot down choke my writing.
What if I never become anything?
What if my peer critiques were right?
What if I don’t have what it takes?
What if I am no good?
What if I’ve tricked myself into believing I have a talent?