The College Years

I’m probably one of the few people who went to college that doesn’t say “oh my gosh, those were my best years.” I don’t look back on a lot of fond memories and I definitely don’t wish I was still in college (ok I did have Fridays off a lot so I do miss that occasionally 🙂 ). I loved my program and the professors in it and I made some great friends who I’m still great friends with today (and I did have a lot of fun memories with them).

It just wasn’t a good time in my life. I was depressed. I was completely unsure of myself as a person and I hated having a disability. I looked at all the well-dressed, wealthy kids around me who were going to parties and dating boys and there I was, still perpetually behind everyone and doing none of those things. I was still the shy awkward girl. I can’t speak for everyone else but I had this idea in my head of what college was going to be like. I was going to make all these new friends and finally have a boyfriend. I was going to find a lot more like-minded people and no one was going to care how they looked. Unfortunately that’s not what I was met with and that’s not what happened. It was a very different experience and very much still a popularity contest and I just wasn’t accepting enough of myself to be able to handle it in stride (thank god I had an amazing therapist through the university who helped me a lot).

So now that I’ve said all that. I’ve moaned and whined about how overall unsatisfying my college experience was I’m going to turn the tables a bit. Maybe my college experience didn’t stack up to be what I thought it was going to be or supposed to be. Maybe I’m not going to be one those people showing up at homecoming games or alumni events. But you know what? I got an education. I was lucky enough to come from a family who could afford to send me to college (with the help of some hefty student loans I’m still paying off of course). I had parents who wanted and encouraged me to get an education. Furthermore, I was allowed  to get an education. There are women all over this planet who aren’t allowed go to school. They’re expected to work to support their family. Even worse, in places like Afghanistan, little girls are killed if they’re found attending, or even attempting to attend, school. In many countries, a woman getting an education and having her own mind and her own voice is considered a dangerous thing. Even right here in the States, there are people who can’t get an education or further it because they can’t afford it. It’s just not even an option. They don’t grow up thinking, “I’ll go to high school, then college and get a job” like so many of us do because college can’t even be a thing on their radar.

So despite my misgivings, I still can’t approach the topic with anything but complete gratitude. I received something that not everyone is able to. In many other countries, all little girls want to do is be able to learn and to sit in a classroom but because whatever obstacles that may exist, they can’t. Everyone deserves to get an education, male or female. Everyone deserves to sit in a classroom if they want to. Everyone deserves to have a voice.


8 thoughts on “The College Years

  1. Hi Jackie

    I have been reading some of your posts and I love the positivism they transmit. Thank you for sharing a different perspective to difficult situations, and demonstrating your courage and openness. I am an MOT student at Loma Linda University, and appreciate the opportunity in reading your blog. I think that your experiences can help us understand what our clients might go through. Also create a positive impact in the way we approach treatment.

    Anay Salgado

    1. Hi Anay. Thank you very much for the positive feedback. I’m so glad to hear you think what I write here with help with your clients’ experiences. All the best to you!

  2. Hi Jackie!

    I’m an MOT student from Loma Linda, and I’ve been reading through some of your blogs this evening. I really connected with your thoughts on the college experience. My undergrad college experience was very much like yours. I went to a school where I felt like I was surrounded by impossibly beautiful people who came from money, and were having tons more fun than I was. At least that was my perception of everyone else. In my opinion, it’s a myth that the college years are the best time of life.

    But you’re right that those of us given the opportunity for an education have to be grateful for it. Have you seen the documentary “Girl Rising”? It’s about girls in developing countries trying to overcome incredible odds to get a basic education. It really put my whole life in perspective for me, lol! Makes me feel very silly for complaining about school ever, when so many girls would do anything just to be in a classroom.

    Thank you for writing such an honest blog!

    Anna Boehning

    1. Hi Anna. “Girl Rising” is actually what inspired this blog 🙂 I watched it the night before I wrote it. It did the exact same thing for me. I completely agree with you that the college years are the best time in life. I think (for those of us fortunate to have been able to go to college) that the years after are so much better because we learn and grow more. Thank you for the great feedback!

  3. Hey there Jackie!
    My name is Norma =) I am also a Loma Linda OT student as well! I would like to thank you for sharing your college experience with us. Reading your post had made me reflect on my experience as well. I too had the same expectations of College myself and looking back at my undergrad experience, I have come to realize how few friends I have made in the process. But seeing the cup have full as you do, I don’t regret my education and I am also very grateful for the opportunity. Disability or not, it seems that many people are their own enablers. The constant battle I struggle with everyday is, “I’m not good enough or smart enough!” These thoughts still linger in me, even though inside my heart I know that I am awesome! Finding the confidence and accepting ourselves is the longest journey, but a brave one. Best of luck and I can’t wait to read more of your blog!

  4. Hello Jackie!
    I am another OT student completely inspired by your blog! =) Thank you so much for sharing your story with all of us. I also did not have the best undergraduate years. While it was a difficult time and I still have not picked up my diploma (almost a decade later! ;-)), I am sincerely grateful for my education. I agree with you. We are so fortunate to have had that opportunity. It was an invaluable experience and made us stronger people today. Your story was a wonderful reminder of this. I am so glad that I had the chance to get to know you through your blogs. =) I truly admire your bravery.

    I wish you the best!

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