Monday, October 25, 2010

A Note of Encouragement to Entering College Freshmen

Nearly two decades ago, I considered myself “smart.” I put “smart” in quotes because, well, I’m not that “smart.” Words don’t usually need quotes, but to illustrate that I thought myself “smart” but really I wasn’t, I put “smart” in quotes.

At any rate, I took a college placement exam called the ACT, and to put it lightly, I bombed it. Fluke, I thought. So I took it again. Same – exact – score. See? Not so smart. I’d reveal the score, but it’s really embarrassing. And one time I overheard my husband, who scored something like a 31 on the ACT, remark to one of his smart friends something about another friend who scored a 24 on the ACT and how he was really dumb. I have never told my husband my score, but I’ll sheepishly admit now that it was actually lower than a 24 by two points. Think you know my score? Well, you probably scored higher than me too. Rub it in next time you see me.

Nevertheless, I applied to BYU. At that time, BYU was at its height of being selective. It’s a touch less selective now, as Ricks became BYU-Idaho and allowed more students, thus, less students applying at the “real” BYU. But when I applied to BYU, the rumor was that if you didn’t score at least a 28 on your ACT, don’t bother applying.

But who was I to listen to rumors. And crazily enough, I got in, but with one caveat: I had to start in the summer. If I did well in my courses, I could stay for eternity…or until I got my degree. Whichever came first.

I provided this background to illustrate that nearly my entire adult life, I have had this dark cloud hanging over me. I’ve scraped by somehow on my Forrest-Gumplike brains. Every job post college that I’ve had, I’ve been grateful for. I’ve never been the one who is complaining that at “such and such job, we got to do such and such.” Are you kidding me? You know those people holding the sign telling you that $5 pizza is this way? That should have been me.

It’s a miracle that I’ve found a job I love and appreciate that’s indoors and out of the elements of Utah weather.

And for you college-age freshmen with a similar background, I had a huge ah-ha moment the other day at work.

I was talking to a colleague about her being salutatorian of her 1,000+ class in California, and how she scored a perfect on the language part of the SAT.

And I looked at her. And I looked at me. And her desk is a lot like mine. And her job responsibilities are a lot like mine. And her pay scale is a lot like mine. And you know what?

She thinks her job is beneath her. I think my job is heaven sent. Guess which one of us is happier with our station in life?

Hallah for the Forrest Gumps of the world!


Emily said...

Love it.

Aundrea said...

Love it too! I think being grateful and somewhat content are the best personality traits around!

I may have been the stupid friend your husband was talking about...but, I recall maing fun of him for retaking the ACT because he "only got a 31..." I was wishing for brains like that:)

Kristi said...

I'm pretty sure I'm the stupid friend. I was pretty happy with a 24 even though it was a good 5 points below anyone else in my family. I have happily taken the role of the stupidest member of my family.