Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Life Lessons: Learning the hard way

See, as a kid I was always being told

Oh, you just have to learn the hard way, don't you? Hard headed chile!
And I think it's time I remember that. I really learn the hard way best.

Read more for learning the hard way.

The Hard Way

I've been dealing with some shit. Like really unfortunate and unpredictable situations.

  • My laptop broke in the middle of the last week of classes; my cat accidentally attacked the battery of my back up laptop. 
  • My apartment complex is not going to renew the lease I'm in with a friend; my friend, on short notice, decided not to live with me. 
  • My advisor "suggested" I change to a different major and put a lot of pressure on me to make a choice quickly; the other major is borderline engineering so my engineering scholarship may not cover it. 
  • My summer research-job decided to change the availability of paper samples for destructive techniques; my senior thesis is in nebulous without the paper samples. 

And I'm not going to lie: I was really angry about some of these things. I was upset about having all of these things change under my feet with no notice. I thought I was doing everything right, after all. I was doing my best, challenging myself and focused on improving those around me. I sat in my bed and cried. I raged, impotent, about my advisor, my life. I felt lied to, betrayed, treated unfairly. I thought to myself, "Why is this happening to me? Why isn't it ever easy?"

But the hard way was the only way. These problems weren't going away, no matter how I felt.


Currently, I'm dealing with these hard things the hard way. Getting through these situations through brute force is my forte. A friend remarked that she was worried about me until she remembered something about me:
 You're very resourceful and sometimes I forget that. Somehow you always end up alright.

Some people have to learn from experience. Often the most difficult experiences teach us the most. All of these difficult situations came about because I've been challenging myself. It's only by falling that you gain faith in your ability to stand back up. Have faith in your ability to get back up! Fail forward, as it were.

I learned something out all of these things.

  • Always have a back up laptop! And a back up charger!
  • Always keep 'fuck you' money. Even when you think things are going on as they were, it's good to have the reassurance.
  • Always question why someone is pressuring you. Whether it's an advisor or a realtor, taking a few seconds to think about a major commitment is necessary! and within your rights!
  • Always remember your goals. Goals matter. The way you get to your goals can change, likely your path will change whether you like it or not.
And learning these lessons was so valuable!

Hard headed

What I've really found out about myself: Hard headed people are stubborn and don't feel bad about their bad situations. I challenged myself, broadening what was possible, and ended up with a bigger challenge than I was comfortable.

See, I can't feel bad about being in the difficult situations. Most of them were outside of my control. Maybe I could've mitigated them: I didn't have to move off campus. I didn't have to go to an out of state school. I didn't have to go to a school that would be so gosh darn difficult.

But I wouldn't want to undo those choices. Dorm life was draining me. Living off campus was fun and exciting. I love living in Cambridge, MA. Now I have a reference as a tenant that I wouldn't have. I learned how to pay rent on time, deal with maintenance, how it feels to be outside the support of a dorm, how to take on that responsibility and accountability. I learned how much I like city living, being able to go where I want to when I want to. I know what I want out a living situation and what I can handle.

I don't regret a minute of what I've done these past few months. I've done so much good for myself, growing and putting down roots. I've found strength in myself, a strength that I can rely on even when the going gets hard. I'm hard too and I don't break.