Mastery of Self

doingThere is a story I like to tell about my college years. It is the story of me almost failing Latin as a junior in college. It starts with me studying hard and doing everything I can possibly do to rescue my grade. It ends with me getting a C- in Latin. A C- is the lowest possible grade I could have gotten to pass that class. I am convinced that grade was awarded to me at the discretion of the instructor who saw how hard I worked and wanted to spare me the heartache of having to retake the class.

I have never believed that I am academically gifted. Maybe it comes from a childhood when I often felt like I was struggling to grasp concepts. Through Junior Secondary School at Queen’s College to Senior Secondary School at STEE Academy, I felt like I sometimes just could not get things the way others did. The only thing that was different was that I learned early on that I could not depend on learning everything in class, so I learned to study and how to study.

Developing a mastery of my own learning needs has not saved me from the heartache of bad grades. I think sometimes that is what makes getting a bad grade heartbreaking for me. I feel like I do the best I could absolutely do and sometimes it still goes south. As a 30-year-old student, though, I am learning not to let my school life become the center of my life.

When I first returned to school over the summer, I disappeared. Friends told me that I was gone and it was clear that I was stressed out. Maybe I can justify my imbalance with the excuse that accelerated classes have a way of sucking the life out of you. Maybe it is a good thing it happened because now I am staying away from anything that says accelerated.

In this second phase of my academic life, I am learning that the mastery of self is the beginning of happiness. By tapping into what makes me happy, I am able to create a life that balances my academic goals with my social and personal life. Some days when it all comes together, there is a bliss I feel in knowing that I am doing it all and I am doing it as best as I can.

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