Have you ever been the youngest in a room? With three little brothers (and at least one of their friends over at all times) this situation is rare for me… until this semester. Now, every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:35 – 10:55am, I am the youngest in the room in my English 101 class at Greenville Technical College, and it’s wonderfully intimidating. I’m learning that success isn’t dependent on status or situation, and that uncomfortable places are the best places for growth.
“No late work will be accepted.” Surely this was a first-day-scare-the-new-students joke right? Wrong. My professor was simply reading the English Department’s absence and homework policy. In high school, absences and late work are expected. In many classes, students can submit work two days late and still receive an A for the assignment. This is often a valiant attempt by teachers to be understanding and kind, but as I quickly learned, understanding and kind policies are neither if they provide you with a false sense of security, and set you up for failure in more mature situations.
It was with this introduction that I began my first college course in a room full of adults with jobs and kids and plenty of other adulty responsibilities. Thoughts of self-doubt swarmed my head, heck, I could barely open the door to get in the building, much less write an essay about majors and career opportunities that would be worthy of praise from a college professor! However, as I started talking to my fellow classmates over the next few weeks, I began to realize that no one’s circumstances qualified them as “prepared.” They were single moms, military spouses, aspiring athletes, scholarship recipients and full time employees. Their stories were diverse and challenging, but not one of my new friends viewed their situation as a barrier or disadvantage, instead they saw their experiences as catalysts for success.
What uncomfortable situations have you experienced growth in? I want to hear your story in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading!