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Monday, July 21, 2014

How Much Did Your School Year Suck?

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The biggest mistake a person can make is evading reality. When most students finish their school year they instantly try to forget all of the unpleasant school year memories. They try to forget the tests they disappointed themselves on and the mistakes they made. That's understandable but don't let yourself lose sight of reality in all this.

The people that fail in life are not the people that make mistakes. In fact, the vast majority of your life is going to be mistakes. Outside of schooling, mistakes are the expected norm. The successes often come in small doses. You'll end up thinking, “Well... That failed almost completely but... this one part of it worked.” Then you can build off of that single small bit of success you find. (Sometimes you won't even find a shred of success.)

There is nothing wrong with making mistakes. In fact, you should be more worried when you don't make any mistakes. When you don't make any mistakes you have to wonder if you're not looking at the situation right, or if you're settling for too low a standard. If you're just blind to your own failure then, objectively, you'll never know how to improve. If you don't care to increase your standards, you better hope the world doesn't leave you behind.

Worse than all of those decisions is the following decision I'm going to describe. This is how the vast majority of people manage their life. Students are certainly not the only sufferers of this decision. When this decision is made it completely eliminates any potential progress from life.


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At the end of the school year the average student doesn't even think about how well their school year went. Since they passed their courses, they no longer think twice about how the courses went. It's summer and they suddenly have way more important things to think about. For the most part, I agree with that. The problem comes when students don't spend any time reviewing their own school year.

It can seem so easy to spend a couple hours thinking about it but most students still try to distract themselves through video games or conversations with friends. I can't speak for every student but I can remember exactly why I didn't like to think about my school year growing up.

I hated school. I despised every day I was forced into it. Early on at least, I did not care about any of it. I hated being ordered around by teachers. I hated being judged by other students. I hated that they forced me to do more work when I got home. To put it simply, I hated it.

When summer came, the last thing I wanted to do was think about the suffering I endured all year. I wanted to pretend that it never even happened. I wanted to imagine none of the teachers, non-friend students, or faculty even existed. I did that through drowning myself in programming, writing, and video games.

I refused to acknowledge the emotions I was forced through. I did everything I could to forget it. (Repression anyone?) To process any of the school year, I had to process this first. It was quite painful for me and I can't even say I had it all that bad. This might be painful for you too but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

The problem with not acknowledging something is that you can never actually deal with it. When you don't review your school year, you will never be able to improve the results your getting significantly. Eventually, for me, the decision to start preparing for class appropriately wasn't a subtle and easy decision. It was a harsh look back at the poor decisions I made in the past about it. No, I didn't fall for all the victim shaming that teachers do but I looked at myself and asked “When I'm subjected to things I don't approve of, am I going to make the best of it?”

Looking back at my life before that, I wasn't making the best of it. I would ignore an assignment until the day it was due. Then I'd struggle to finish it in time. Then I'd get a subpar grade and feel ashamed of it. That is not a rational way to deal with the situation. It just brings suffering on both ends. I came to realize that I either needed to stop caring about my grades or start treating my grades like something I care about.

If I stopped caring about my grades, my grades might suffer but I would at least be following my opinion. If I cared about my grades, I wouldn't actually put it off until the last second because that would be like caring about a dog and not feeding it until it was starving. That's insane. It's not the way to worry about something.

Making The Hard Decisions

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While most of your teachers, parents, and role models will give you the old, “Stay in school” mantra, I've always found it a bit insulting. If you're old enough to read this then you're old enough to know the repercussions of your decisions. Most people encourage you to avoid even thinking about this logically. They just want you to follow their directions. Following their direction is easy but it won't encourage you to improve your grades or live better.

At the end of the school year, ask yourself, are you happy with how your school year went?

If not then something needs to change. When you're looking for something to change, don't rule out anything without thinking about it first. Does that mean you should consider dropping out if you're old enough? Yes. I think it's a mistake in most cases but NEVER forget that you're the person in control of your life (you are also the one that will suffer the consequences.) When you rule out this possibility, you just encourage yourself to ignore logical options.

Why would you do this?

Because when you go back to the school, you're going to know you're making that decision for the right reasons. If you're making that decision for the right reasons then it's a whole lot easier to convince yourself to study. (You're going to be there hours a day. You might as well get what you can from it.)

I know... your teachers are going to hate me for saying this but your life is only your life when you make your own decisions. Look at the school year you had honestly. Ask yourself what you want to change and then look at the various ways to do it. Don't ignore other people's advice but don't blindly follow it either.

Are you ready to step up and make the best of the time you're in school? Be sure to check a couple of my books out to learn how to make that happen.

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