Vouchers, self-paced education systems, private schools, sports, extracurriculars, friends, some far away brighter future--these are things that get people to go to school and care. This semester, more than any other in college for me, has been tough. This is the first year I've been surrounded by friends who aren't in school (or are only taking 3-6hours at ACC). This is distracting. I, for the first time, have realized there is a world out there even if you don't finish school, and it's full of a lot of fun things that aren't very good for your body.
My rowing team went to Boston this week to row in the Head of the Charles Regatta. It was a lot of fun, but we didn't do very well. I tried to tell myself this didn't matter to me. I used to row on UT's NCAA school team, so it's strange being on the club team now. I spent a lot of time telling myself that this would feel better if I didn't spend so much time outside of practice trying to get (even) faster than my teammates... but trying to preserve my happiness in this way meant not making any personal progress on the team, which makes practices feel pointless. I had to withdraw myself from a lot of the commitments I made this year. I watched as some of my teammates struggled with mental health issues with which I didn't have the energy to help. I got frustrated in a few of my classes and let that impact the effort I put into them.
I guess this is a bit scattered, but the point is I tanked one of my tests, missed a deadline for an essay, and didn't do well at the Charles. It felt bad, but knowing that I had it in me to do better felt worse. My previous strategy for college had always been to follow a good group of kids. This year, I thought I should be above this. I thought my motivation should come from inside of myself alone.However, my professors in both of my classes talked to me. I've had a lot going on at home, too, I suppose. They were both so understanding and helpful. My teammates were pretty fired up about Charles as well. Even though I got sick on the plane ride home, I came back ready to get back to fighting the good fight because I remembered I'm surrounded by people who care about me. I realized that it's okay (and NORMAL) to want and need community.
Watching the end of Waiting For Superman broke my heart. I know that without the support of my mom I wouldn't have gotten anywhere in school in the first place, but I further remembered that when school finally became a challenge that seemed too big for me, my teachers and classmates helped me pull through. They have the parents, but lack the school and helpful classmates that a student needs to get to college. It's hard to come to school if you don't enjoy it, and it's hard to enjoy it if not even the teachers seem to, much less your friends.