My College Years Were the Worst Years of My Life -(“Good Kid” Part III)

Happy Thursday and welcome back to my series about growing up as the “good kid” where I whine and complain about how I don’t know how to adult (seriously though. Thank you for the platform). Today I want to dive into my college experience and how despite being told “college will be the best years of your life”, my college years were in fact, the worst years of my life.

I mentioned in a previous post that I briefly attended Purdue University. It was the only school I applied to and I only applied to it because I hadn’t missed the deadline and panicked about finding a college to attend in the fall. I lasted one semester. I took 5 classes. I passed 1 of them… Big difference from my 3.9 high school GPA, huh?

I attribute this to a lot of factors. The first one is most obviously: I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to be home with my friends. I was the only one of my friends who went away to college so I always felt like I was missing out on things back home. My friends came to visit me often and whenever they did, I ached to go home. I only allowed myself to go home a couple times in that semester because I knew going home would be painful. I had a few friends (all of whom I befriended either during the freshman week activities where we were forced to hang out with our group or from my part time job at Dairy Queen).

Going from being told so straight-forward what was expected of me my entire life to having complete freedom was challenging to say the least. Although there were still expectations, this time I had them being thrown at me from all different directions, like a game of dodgeball where I was the only one on my team and the opposing team was comprised of the other 7 billion people that live on this planet, thus making it impossible not to get hit all the time, by everything. I spent most of my days during the one semester I spent at University laying in bed, not going to class with my part time job at DQ as the only thing I had to live for. I had been used to being passionate about my songwriting and being praised for my academic successes that suddenly being a below-average nobody was a huge shock. I had already been used to suppressing my depression for 6 or 7 years at this point so I didn’t think it would be of any use to seek any form of help (although later on, several people have admitted to me that they were, in fact worried about me).

After one semester and only passing one class (my Spanish class. I already spoke Spanish so it’s not like there was any hard work involved in that. Plus my professor was super cool and kind and made me want to come to class. We even talked a little bit about some of my struggles at one point, I think), I dropped out. I had already attempted to run away during that first semester so its not like I had any hope that the next one would turn around. After dropping out of University, my parents didn’t give me a choice about still going to college. I still had to go to community college and I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and was still super depressed about wasting my time and money. It took me two and a half years after that to complete an Associate Degree (that I still don’t use) following the same pattern of not going to class and failing classes and struggling with finding reasons to live-if I am going to be completely honest. I didn’t make a single friend in college. I did later on choose to take some online classes through Penn Foster Career School and I have thoroughly enjoyed those actually.

To this day, I don’t see any benefit in my college experience and I think about it often when I have to make large monthly payments on my students loans when that money could be put to much better use such as traveling or even my wedding, or my mortgage or really anything but the useless piece of paper that sits on a shelf collecting dust. I have a job I enjoy. I don’t think banking is my passion in life but I do somewhat enjoy going to work. The college chapter being closed is probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I don’t want you to read this and automatically think that college is a waste of time and money. It wasn’t for me. I have no concept of who I am or what I want to do. If you do-embrace that!

 

Being the “Average” Kid in the “Gifted” Classes- (“Good Kid” Part II)

Hello! Welcome back to my series about how being the “good kid” has ruined my ability to adult! Okay-that was harsh. Being completely honest, I just wanted to grab your attention. Do I have it now? Awesome. Being the “good kid” hasn’t ruined it. Or maybe it did. I haven’t quite decided. Maybe I will by the end of this series. But for now, it has negatively impacted me on a very large scale. Today I want to talk about growing up taking “gifted” classes, where I never felt like I fit in.

I graduated high school in 2012. I wasn’t quite at the very top of my class, but I was in the top 10% (I believe I had a 3.9 GPA when I graduated). Still very impressive. I graduated from an Associate’s Degree program at a community college in 2015 with a 2.4 GPA. Theres’s a big jump in the wrong direction. Much like most other people my age (aka millennials), I was promised success and happiness in life if I behaved well, went to college and worked hard.

I grew up always being in the “gifted program”. Throughout Elementary and Middle School, I was in classes that taught higher levels of math and all around more challenging material. I always struggled in those classes and I noticed I was not as successful as the other students. I felt like I had to work much harder than everyone else. I never understood why I was in those classes but I never expressed that thought because it was just the expectation. Anything less would be inadequate. In High School, I took the minimum required AP and Honors classes to graduate with Academic Honors because I was finally excited to have a break from working harder than I felt I was capable of. I still had to take some AP and Honors classes though because it was ingrained in me that graduating without academic honors was not an option. My family and teachers were always disappointed that I didn’t take advantage of more challenging classes but what I didn’t tell them was that I was already being challenged more than enough in regular classes.

Before I go any further I want to address something because I can envision the comments now. I AM A SMART PERSON. I am not writing this because I need a confidence boost. I am not trying to throw a pity party. I’m not thirsting for compliments by putting myself down. I am simply sharing my experience and expressing thoughts I have suppressed my entire life. I know I will be successful. Maybe not in conventional ways but in my own way.

Okay- now that that’s out of the way- college was never not an option. Four-year university was always my destiny (according to everyone except for me). By the time I hit my senior year of high school, I was so deeply depressed that the idea of going to college was breaking me. I didn’t know how many more years of overworking myself to appear like I was “above average” I could handle. I didn’t want to apply to college. I didn’t want to write essays and pay application fees for something I didn’t want to do. I had no concept of what I wanted to go to school for. I didn’t want to take out thousands of dollars in loans to take basic English and math classes because I couldn’t settle on a major. But I did. I applied to one school and got accepted to that one school so I put on the act that I was so proud and happy to be attending my dream school (I didn’t give a shit about the school). But everyone was so proud of me that I couldn’t stand the idea of not having that kind of support.

It was around this time that I started to realize that I had no idea what I truly wanted because I spent so much time believing that the path I was on was the only right path to be on. This was also around the time I started realizing that my levels of depression were definitely not normal. Of course I didn’t express that to anyone though because there wasn’t room for depression in the plan that was already set in stone. It was around this time that I figured out I had been given unrealistic expectations but didn’t know how to shed them.

 

I think that is enough vomiting up suppressed feelings for today. Thank you for following my series about growing up as the “good kid”. Stay tuned for Part III about my college experience and please feel free to share your experience with me!

Why Being the “Good Kid” Didn’t Pay Off (“Good Kid” Part I)

I grew up being what most people would label: the “good kid”. I went to school everyday. I did my homework everyday. I only maintained friendships with kids my parents approved of. I never stayed out past my curfew. I never once snuck out of my house. I never drank alcohol before age 21. I got good grades. I maintained a part time job while in school. I took classes for college credit in high school. I got accepted to and attended (briefly) Purdue University. I was always polite and my friends’ parents loved me. I was the ultimate people pleaser.

I have decided that the topic of being the “good kid” and how it has affected the way my life has panned out has way too many elements to discuss in one single post. I am going to make this a multiple part series where I discuss how growing up as the “good kid” has affected me in my adult life and perhaps was more harmful than helpful in the long run. I hope that this series will connect me to other former “good kids” struggling in their adult life now. If this is you (or even if it’s not): lets connect! Please leave me a comment with your experience and/or any advice you may have to overcoming struggles brought on by adulthood.

The first paragraph probably doesn’t sound so bad. I probably made myself sound like the ideal child. If you’re a parent of a child who resembles what I described above, you’re probably wondering how on earth this could go in a negative direction. If this is your case, in conjunction with this series, I invite you to do some research on “the good child syndrome”. You don’t have to spend hours- a brief Google search will suffice. There are many blog posts much like mine describing similar experiences.

In short- the “good child syndrome” happens to us former “good kids” when we fly away from our nest and try to adjust to adult life. When we’ve spent our whole life making decisions based on the approval of our parents and grandparents and teachers, the thought of making the wrong decision and disappointing anyone is absolutely terrifying. When faced with two choices, the thought of making the wrong one is too much to handle. I am almost 25 years old and I haven’t lived at home since I was 19 yet everything I do, I still seek the approval of the people who have influenced my life the most. I find it hard to make decisions based on what I want or think is right. My first instinct is not to go with my gut feeling but to do whatever I feel I will get the most positive reinforcement from.

So how did I go from being the ideal people pleasing human to being such a lost soul? Read the last sentence of that last paragraph again. THAT is how.

The purpose of this short post is to introduce you to a topic that not a lot of people are educated on the negative side of. I will be doing many more posts on this topic over the next few weeks. Please check back because I will be adding to this series. And like I said, feel free to share your experience with me as well!

Moving Mountains.

I don’t understand why people make analogies about moving mountains.

It is physically impossible to move a mountain.

You can climb a mountain. Some mountains are easier to climb than others. Some mountains have steps guiding you all the way up. Some mountains take more skill and determination than others. Some take months, even years of training to prepare for.

Some mountains you can climb in a day. Some mountains take a little longer. Either way, you climbed a mountain. Some mountains you climb more than once.

You cannot move a mountain. But what you can do is stand at the top of a mountain and tell the world “Here I am! At the top!”