Recently, I pulled my college transcript for various applications and it was a bit of a heartbreaking trip down memory lane. I had to figure out my Major GPA (why don’t they just put it on there?!?!?) which required me to go through each semester, identify classes from my core classes, and calculate the GPA. In doing this, I was taking a close look at all of the classes I had been enrolled in, and while it was certainly nostalgic… it ultimately made me sad for the person I was at that time. For the girl struggling with things that were bigger than her. I’m proud of what I overcame, but as I started reviewing that freshman year… my heart ached for what that girl had yet to face.
See, I didn’t have the typical college experience. For the first two years or so I was your typical student, give or take, but by the end of my freshman year there was definitely something wrong…. I just couldn’t put my finger on it at the time. Looking back now, I see that I was starting to experience symptoms of my PTSD, manifesting as extreme anxiety. But with no frame of reference for what was happening, I just kept pushing forward.
Reliving those courses… and life lessons
It suddenly hit me when I saw my Summer class in 2009. I was nearly bowled over with the memories of living in a tent in Sturgis while working at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and riding around on my little Yamaha, studying with coffee at McDonalds and then going to the local library to take online quizzes before working from Noon to Midnight every day. It was the last normal class I had for nearly 2 years. I was also filled with a sense resembling dread as I continued on to the remaining semesters.
I recall that next semester when my health, mental stability, and life seemed to fall apart. A teacher I was close with recommended that I drop out of school until I managed to get everything figured out… and I have to admit that this recommendation nearly destroyed me at the time. When my self worth and confidence was at an all time low and I was terrified that I was losing control of my mind, becoming a college dropout was the last thing I wanted to do. So I toughed it out. I registered on campus for disability, which allowed me to get a handicap parking pass and certain attendance allowances in my classes, which saved my butt many times in the next year.
She was probably right
Reviewing it years later, as heartbreaking as it is to admit, I can now see why she recommended it. I watched my grades go from A’s and B’s to a solid set of C’s for nearly two years. So, perhaps she was right. But at that time, I felt like the only thing I had left was my pride.
Even with that dip in my college life, I managed to pull things together. My grades, especially in my final year, went back to normal. I had a great job at the time. I was getting off of my meds, I went through rehab, and I escaped from my abusive ex, all while finishing my degree. So perhaps I don’t have a great GPA, or wild and crazy stories from my days at state. Perhaps I only have one close friend from college. But I couldn’t be more proud of who I am today, and I wouldn’t change who I’ve become.