When I came across the blogging challenge, so many of the various challenges had questions that focused on personal accomplishments. I don’t normally like talking about my accomplishments, probably because I fall under that strange female trait that absolutely HATES talking about achievements and it just feels like bragging. I’m the sort of person that will normally downplay achievements, partially because I honestly don’t believe they’re all that fantastic, but also because sounding prideful is really unappealing to me. J is always telling me that I need to be more mindful of that, and that telling people what I’ve accomplished isn’t being prideful or boastful, but instead it’s being truthful about my life and where I’ve come from. Which, from that perspective, makes it seem ok. So…here goes.
One of my greatest accomplishments in life is probably my academic success. Which, when written like that, seems vague as hell. I am a first generation college student. No one in my family (immediate or extended), even to this day, has ever gone to college. Just me. When I was in high school, college was never an expectation for me. I’ve always been really jealous of those people who were “expected” to go to college, like it was a foregone conclusion that they attend. The type of people where it wasn’t a matter of if they went to college, but where they went. It just wasn’t like that for me. High school was easy for me, and I really enjoyed academics, but from my parents’ view it was always expected that I would graduate, then get a job at the local factory and get married/have children. When I told my parents that I wanted to go to college, it was met with questions of, “why” and “for what purpose.” So, I honestly never believed I’d be attending university, and it didn’t truly become real until I had moved into my dorm my freshman year.
Towards the end of undergrad, I was feeling what most other soon-to-be graduates were feeling…the “what in the world am I going to do now?”. I decided to apply to law school to continue my education. Once again, I was met with questions from my family on why I would ever do that, and when would I move home and settle down with a family. I think they wanted to be supportive of me, but my life was just so completely different from anything they’d experienced before, they didn’t know how to relate. It actually severely damaged my relationship with my mother, and even to this day our relationship still suffers from my decision to pursue higher education. I applied for a legal education program for minorities, and, as a first generation college student, I was accepted. I was fortunate enough to meet a few other people in the same position as myself, and we bonded over that aspect of our lives. I went into law school knowing that I’d work harder than anything else in my life, and boy was I right. Midway through law school, I decided to stay another year to earn a Master’s degree as well as my Juris Doctorate. I graduated from law school in 2009, after having spent 21 consecutive years in school (in one form or another).
I’m incredibly fortunate, and well aware that several small decisions in life could have led me down a completely different path. I’m comfortable with what I’ve accomplished academically, but don’t usually talk about the background of it all, especially because it has led to quite a rift between me and my family. I do feel that I was up against quite a lot of challenges, and am glad that I pushed through and overcame those to be where I am today. I can only hope that, when J and I have children, that I will encourage them to do anything they would like to do in life, and that no path is a wrong path, which is more than I can say for my encouragement over the years. I think, at some point, I would like to go back to school and work towards a Ph.D, probably in education, but that will be years down the road. Who knows…maybe I’ll be back in school when my children are in school as well!
There it is, one of my greatest accomplishments. I hope you enjoyed, and I’d love to hear one of yours!