“I’m giving you permission to fail,” was something I had never heard from a professor before. Yet here he was, telling me to fail and to fail big. Of course he wasn’t talking letter grades or test scores. He was telling us that it was okay to put in the work, take the risks, and still have it not work out in the end. And it turns out, that was one of the hardest things for me to accept.
You come into college with an idea of who you want to be and what you want to do here. Then suddenly, none of it matters. Things and people get in the way, and more often than not…we get in our own way. Once you’re your own worst enemy, coping with the chaos around you becomes next to impossible.
College is supposed to be about finding yourself, right? Not to be cliché, but that’s what every movie, book, and person you’ve ever met has told you your whole life. But what they don’t tell you is that things are going to get pretty messed up first, and that’s okay.
At first you’ll feel like nothing you do here has any real consequences. But as you’ll soon find out, real life isn’t put on hold while you’re away at school. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to fail. And then one night you’ll look in the mirror and realize that somewhere along the way, you lost yourself.
The way I see it, once you lose yourself you have two options; you either find the person you lost, or become the person you want to be. And believe it or not, you have an advantage. You can only truly be self-reflexive when you’re looking at your life from the bottom up.
I became so overwhelmed with my attempts to balance my life, and constantly worried that I wasn’t making the right decisions for my future. It was only once I broke down completely, accepting defeat in every form that I realized you don’t have to make the right decisions. You just have the make the decisions you can live with. That means trying as hard as you can, and failing. It means trying your best to live through the chaos,
with your hopes up high and your head even higher.
Sometimes we need to lose everything to realize what’s worth finding and what no longer has a place. We then get to make choices…the tough ones, cutting out the things and the people who are keeping us from being the person we want to be.
The most important thing is realizing that you are going to lose yourself more than just once in your life. But luckily, each and every time you will come back with a clearer, more sophisticated perspective. So this is me, whether my words mean anything to you or not, giving you permission to fail. I want you to fail big and fail often. And while most days will still have you wondering if you’re making the right decisions, there will be these moments of complete clarity where every little failure, every single regret, will seem worth it.
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