This post is part of the daily blog challenge from Live Your Legend.
Daily Challenge #4.
These are my opinions and based on my personal experience.
I will be answering the title question along with these: “What is it? Who were you with? What were you doing? What actions caused you to experience the success you did? How did it feel? Did it positively impact anyone else?”
I’ve found throughout these writing exercises that my mind has been more deep in thought than ever before. I’m beginning to look at everything around me slightly different, almost pondering the very existence of certain things. For example, while I was driving to work yesterday, stuck in traffic, I was thinking why I was even there. “Why am I stuck in traffic, driving to a job I don’t even care for?” I had plenty of time to think, being that I’m in Houston and it takes me an hour to get to work, which is 15 minutes away without traffic…
I realized that I’m not obligated to live anywhere I don’t want to. I’m also not obligated to even drive. I asked myself, “Why don’t you just move somewhere that has a good mass transit system and find a job that you love?” I realize it’s not as easy as picking up and moving but in reality, it just might be that easy. I also realized that I’m already planning on leaving to teach English abroad, more than likely South Korea. But what do I do when I return? That will take more thought but the general idea is this: I can go where I want, do what I want, live and work where I want.
This kind of privilege isn’t afforded to everyone, which brings me to answer the title question, albeit in a very roundabout way. Everything that has been afforded to me is the result of the one thing I am most proud of: my college education. Finishing college is one of the biggest achievements of my life to date. I didn’t even want to go to college to be honest. I finished high school and went straight to junior college while I was trying to “find myself”, and to save money on tuition as well. Junior college was a breeze but I wasn’t sure what to do after I finished my associate’s degree.
My mother pushed me to finish and go to a university to receive my bachelors. My girlfriend at the time echoed my mother and pushed me to do the same. I instead went another route for 3 years (which I might post about at another time) and was able to do many things during those years. I worked in education, finance, and I even spent time as a Sous Chef for a prominent hotel in Texas. Now that I look back at that time, I can’t really account for most of it because it was such a blur. It went by so fast. I never wanted to go to college. I just wanted to work and make decent money so I could do the things I wanted. It turned out that the things I wanted to do required further education. I do remember the day I decided to finally listen to my mother and girlfriend.
I was working in finance, which I absolutely hated, and was having relationship issues. I felt so lost and didn’t know what to do next. I couldn’t get a promotion without a bachelors but did I even want to stay with my company? I had a conversation with my mom and she told me bluntly that I needed to finish my education to afford myself more opportunities. I finally relented, did my due diligence and found a school I liked. I applied, got in, and thus started my bachelors degree, which I finished in 2010. The sense of accomplishment I felt once I was done is something I can never duplicate. I did what no one else in my immediate family had done. I was a college graduate. I hated every step of the way to finish my degree (I’m not a very studious person) but I finished.
As I was the first in my family to attend and finish college, my family was extremely proud of me, especially my mother. It was the culmination of all of the years of sacrifice to give her children a better life. It even inspired her to return to school and get her bachelors degree. My mothers patience with me and my persistence to never give up (which I wanted to do many times) paved the path for me to graduate. My degree has afforded me the opportunities that I’ve experienced. Namely travel. Without my degree, I would never have qualified to live in the Republic of Georgia and become a volunteer English teacher.
I would have never landed the jobs that allowed me to make good money and save for vacations, to see the world. I would have never met those closest to me because my work has taken me all over the US and internationally. My degree has opened up so many doors that it’s crazy to think about. My life wouldn’t be what it is today without my bachelors. Obtaining it is the one thing I am most proud of. For now.