When I was young, I overheard a conversation between my dad and my older brother. My dad said one of his coworkers was complaining about work: he was fed up with the hours, the pay, the boss, the current task, everything. This coworker mutterred to himself over and over again: “this is bullshit, I’m sick of this bullshit”, and so on. Fed up, another coworker exclaimed: “Why don’t you quit then??” His response was: “…because I like this bullshit”.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but this frustrated coworker had revealed the key to collegiate success. Part of you has to enjoy the struggle of it if you’re willing to put up with it over and over again. And if you don’t like this bullshit you’re not going to put up with it. Instead, you’ll roll over and take whatever grade you can get. Your effort will have a threshold that you won’t be willing to go beyond.
My Bullshit Moment
Last thursday, I hit a homework wall for my child development class. It was 9:30pm; I had spent 5hrs researching, reading, and repeating. I had 50 dense pages to read (for a slow reader like myself, this takes hours). I had an annotated bibliography to turn in and I had to write out my ideas for my paper (in relation to the articles I just read). With 11hrs to go until class started I was still questioning the quality of my research; in fact, at this point I was questioning my life decisions. Here I was, having just left BIO 141, ending my year with a 277 level psych course. My academic confidence was fizzling out: I had just gotten a B- on my theory assignment and I was expecting a “B range” grade on the exam I had just taken. I was gazing into the future and saw a much smaller GPA. I was in full out “breakdown” mode with a “what’s the point?” mindset eating away at the little motivation I had left.
Though this was the worst wall I’ve hit all year, I knew how to get over it (more or less). I briefly talked about my anxieties to my roommate and older brother. I watched an episode of Parks and Rec on netflix. I listened to my favorite slam poems. I jammed to some Eminem, because moments like these always make me think I’m in 8 mile. And I got over myself.
Whenever I go through these bouts of stress I always reach a moment of strange joy in which I realize how much I love this, how much I want to be at this college. I like the constant cups of coffee, the reading, the library, the sleep deprivation, the writing, the lectures, and the stress. I like the number of times I’ve said “impossible” and still pulled it off. In a way, I even like failure because it lets me know that I am, in fact, challenging myself. I like the experience, the way all of this is getting me closer to reaching my goals in life.
No matter where you go to college, there are going to be ugly moments. There is going to be a struggle. Even landing your dream job won’t change that. But as long as you are passionate about what you’re working towards, none of those obstacles will matter.
As my freshman year of college comes to a close, I am happy to say that I thoroughly like this bullshit.