Shortly after I turned twenty, I graduated with my first college degree: bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Over the next decade, I utilized my degree and found my way in the world applying knowledge I had learned while sitting in the classroom. Nearly thirteen years later, I returned to school and earned my next degree: M.S. Psychology.
I spent the years between my formal education studying life, living and creating a wonderful family. I had goals that were made, goals that needed to be altered and ultimately goals I proudly achieved. Over the years, I thought many times of various professors that had touched my life. Some of these professors always had their office door open. Some were always ready for a long phone call to explain the theories I struggled to grasp. I know I was never an easy student. I was that annoying student who participated only by asking too many questions. “Why was it that way? Who said that he had a deeper meaning? How do we really know that is true?” On and on my questions would flow. Sadly, I was also the student that really did not want to sit and wait for the answers. Rather, I just liked asking more and more questions. I succeeded though in learning the necessary information. Thankfully, I do not think I caused any of my teachers to retire early due to the stress and annoyance I created. I completed my final degree with a 4.0.
Not surprisingly, I believe I gained the most applicable knowledge in the years between my formal education. I enrolled in Real Life University and spent a considerable amount of time in the School of Hard Knocks. I learned some amazing lessons throughout these years. If I had to write a thesis it would include:
A one year-old is cute stumbling when they learn to walk. When you are relearning this assumed talent, it is no longer so cute to watch. The long looks of admiration toddlers receive are replaced with quick glances of pity for adults. DON’T STARE. DON’T BE FRIGHTENED. HOLD MY HAND. WE CAN LEARN A LOT TOGETHER.
Sometimes while laughing at yourself the world will not laugh with you. Rather, the world freezes with discomfort and confusion. They render a pause of awkwardness when trying to deal with the space between your distractions of humor and their discomfort. I HAVE A SMILE IN MY EYES AND GRATEFUL JOY IN MY HEART. LAUGH WITH ME. JOIN ME IN MY HAPPY CELEBRATION.
A catheter left in for an extended time can create the need for you to relearn how to void your bladder. This is no longer a spontaneous action that happens with your unassumed control. Even the most basic things in life we tend to take for granted; even the most personal things in life may need renewed concentration as you begin to learn seemingly simple tasks once again. NEVER TAKE ANYTHING IN YOUR LIFE FOR GRANTED.
But here is the troubling thing: I can make an impressive resume out of my formal education as I seek future employment. I can wow and awe those hiring with recommendations I had from previous professors. However, the real lessons that made me who I am today would never work on a resume. No employer would respond with an interview call when I wrote of the struggles I have overcome. Too often we, as a society, see the hardships people have experienced and assume they linger in the tragedy they may have faced. I personally think Winston Churchill was correct when he said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” I am thankful I am an optimist. I am thankful for the lesson taught both through school and through life. Never focus on my disabilities, but please always remember that I do have some. And for these challenges, I am truly grateful. It is only through this education life has provided that I have become the strong person I am today.