I survived summer school.
Actually, I did better than that. I successfully PASSED summer school with pretty decent grades.
Back in April, I thought it would be a pretty good idea to always be enrolled in two classes each semester so that I was consistently making progress toward my degree. Smart, right? Not really. It was pretty foolish to think I could handle five months of course work crammed into a seven week bag.
Fast forward to June and I’m in a full on panic. Every day I had a self-inflicted headaches and I rarely experienced a day when I didn’t feel sick to my stomach. What was supposed to be…not necessarily easy but definitely not difficult, turned into one long nightmare. Every week I had on average 10-15 assignments due…for one class. I didn’t factor in the amount of reading and research required for these classes. In hindsight, I was pretty cocky and stupid.
Each and every day, I wanted to quit.
It was too hard.
It was too much.
My grades were slipping towards abysmal.
Clearly summer school…clearly COLLEGE was a huge mistake. Family and friends endured daily rants from me. I complained, I cried, I panicked. I wanted one person to give me permission to quit. If I couldn’t do this and do it well, there was no point in continuing. During my lowest point, I said to my oldest son,
“I’m not doing well.”
“Would you think badly of me if I quit?”
“Because then you wasted time, money and effort.”
“You’re being kind of mean.”
“No, I’m not. You wouldn’t let me quit if it was me. Just do it.”
There it was. My son thought I was a quitter. And that’s when I realized that he’s right. I have a lifelong habit of quitting. I quit when things get hard. I quit when I don’t achieve perfection. I quit when I’m tired. I quit when I don’t have support from everyone (and I do mean everyone). Facing a hard truth about yourself is not easy but it stings more when it comes from your child. I felt a sense of shame that I never felt before and I couldn’t deny that if I quit, my son would lose some respect for me.
I’ve always told my kids that if they could look themselves in the mirror and say they tried their best, then that would be good enough. Clearly I needed to give myself the same pep talk. I knew I was giving these courses my best effort and that must be good enough. Regardless of the final outcome, the one thing I could not do was quit.
Somehow I made it through the final weeks of class and was able to yank my grades up from the abyss into something respectable. The relief I felt once these classes were done cannot be described. It was a joy to be free of headaches and nausea. It was a joy to have time to spend with my kids again. But it was a bigger joy to know the satisfaction of seeing something through until the bitter end. I am proud that I didn’t quit on myself.
My son’s words stung. I was hurt by what he said but I’m glad he was honest with me. I needed to quit quitting.