Now to understand how flunking out of College turned out pretty good for me, you must first understand that I had grand dreams of becoming a starlet. Back when I was in high school, the theater (you must say that word with all the hoity-toity-ness you can muster) was very important to me. I was going to go to New York, audition for a Broadway show, get cast in the lead role and be a star! I knew it deep down in my soul, in the very essence of my spirit. As I said, grand dreams, yada yada. Of course, I also felt I needed to go to college.
You see, I grew up poor and my mom was the first in her family to go to college. She did all this while taking care of me and my brother. So… I kinda felt I needed to go. I was honor bound.
Now, I live in a college town, so there really weren’t any decisions to be made as far as where I would attend. I would go to the college in my city. It was, after all, where my mom had graduated from. So my senior year I applied. That year I also went to the state thespian championship for the International Thespian Society, of which I was a five start member, thank-you very much!
I had selected my competition monologues very carefully. One for its stupendous comedic effect and the other, Shakespeare’s Ophelia from Hamlet, for its woefully dramatic effect. My delivery was impeccable, precise. I came away feeling satisfied I had done my best, however, by the end of the weekend I was not so sure. Would I win an award in my category?
The time came to announce my age bracket. One by one they announced the places and my name was not called. They came to first place. I held my breath, this was it, surely I had won. After all, I was meant to do this, right? And then… they did not call my name. Disappointment washed over me. I felt defeated. Not even a stinking honorable mention!
The last category of the night was the Scholarship. It wasn’t a large scholarship but it would be helpful to the lucky duck who won it and I just sat there, feeling sorry for my self. I never even considered winning that scholarship. That’s when I heard it, MY NAME! They were saying my name. I could not believe it. Out of everyone, I had won the scholarship. Now I knew it was meant to be. I was supposed to be an actress and winning the scholarship meant I was supposed to go to college.
Fast forward to the fall. My mom thought it would be an enriching experience for me to live in the dorms. So my parents moved me in. I was a now living on my own and theater was my major. One side effect of living on my own was that I had no one to tell me what to do or when to do it. At first it was great, I went to my classes and did things on my own time. I began to make friends and started dating. Slowly, I began to stay out later and later at night. Next, I started to skip classes, mostly because I was tired from staying out too late. I fell behind on my homework. Basically I made a lot of bad decisions. I was sowing my wild oats and my school work was suffering. As the semester went on, I reached a point of no return where I was failing and no amount of studying would bring me back. I tried talking to my professors but I had made my bed so I had no choice but to lie in it; the college academically dismissed me.
I had to move back home. I had really done it now. Gone were my free wheeling days. My mom said I had to get a job now and pay my own way. Since she was a nurse and helped me get a job at the hospital in the distribution department (they helped distribute medical supplies to the different hospital units). While working at the hospital, I began to discover that I liked the medical field. I found it interesting. I enjoyed interacting with patients. Because of that, I became an EMT and eventually became a Registered Nurse.
You see, You never know where life is going to take you. It has a way of guiding you to the right path if you let it. Sometimes to get where you need to be you have to forget where you’ve been.
Sometimes to get where you need to be you have to forget where you’ve been
I now have a passion for the healthcare field and for nursing. I discovered a caring empathetic side to myself. I enjoy providing for others. I get fulfillment out of helping people. I find what I do satisfying and I never would have found it if I had not flunked out of college!
Flunking Out of College Was the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.