Realizing your hidden academic potential

Graphic by Jessica Wood

In nearly every high school coming of age movie I used to watch growing up, there were a lot of relatively common themes — university, education and the prospect of thinking about your future.

“What school are you going to go to?” “It’s a big life decision and it’s crucial to your future!” “I’m worried I’m not going to get accepted!” “Oh, I know you’ll be fine, Chad!”

I’ve always felt a disconnect from these common media tropes. Being pushed by family to pursue higher education wasn’t something that I was overly familiar with.

In a household where the highest standards were obtaining a driver’s license, owning a car and merely graduating high school as the definitive checkpoints of adulthood, university was never something I expected, or intended to pursue.

A lethargic disinterest was present; there was merely no interest one way or another as to whether or not I pursued a higher education.

My prospects weren’t really considered or cared about beyond the steps of high school and I felt increasingly lost because of it.

Over time, this lethargy manifested itself into fear. It grew slowly from doubts, wondering if I’d have enough skill or worth to succeed.

From there it became hopelessness and the motivation to try waned as my high school years came to an end.

Despite everything telling me otherwise, I persisted and sought help to consider my options.

I was lucky to have other people in my life who saw the value and potential I contained.

More so, I am thankful that they were more stubborn than I was, and pushed me to help myself further than I ever imagined possible.

It’s also helped me in my interactions with others. I want to become the person that I needed when I was younger, to give someone the kind of motivation and push that I required to help myself.

Lacking the inherent motivating factor that family is known to provide, I found a considerable force of motivation came from facilitating personal fulfillment in my future.

It coerced me from my state of apathy, illuminating that there needed to be a fundamental change in my life if I was to take control of where it was going to take me.

I have changed from a person that simply graduated high school into someone who wants more out of their future now. I’ve rediscovered the desire to become more than what I was given and to be worth more than how I used to think.

It’s an extremely important ideology that is very easy to let slip in the wake of inactivity.

This is an attitude that doesn’t just apply to post-secondary education, it’s an overall mindset to become seemingly content with the bare minimum of potential.

One of the single largest regrets in the minds of many as we age becomes “what could I have done that I didn’t try to do?”

I’m not going to claim that I’m now an ultra-ambitious, hyper-aspiring person, because that would be laughably disingenuous.

But in a family where university has never been prioritized, it’s pushed me to grow in a different way than if they’d been the opposite.

It’s uncovered a dormant part of my personality that seeks to demonstrate that I’m worth more than the self-negligence I resolved myself to.

It’s also helped me in my interactions with others. I want to become the person that I needed when I was younger, to give someone the kind of motivation and push that I required to help myself.

Moving forward, I now have a goal that has changed my perspective on the importance of what a future is worth and how essential it is to protect.

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