Learning from Experience – A Reflection on Self-Acceptance as a Starting Point for Growth

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MadeleineFeaturedImageTTC Blogger Madeleine Darowiche shares her insights about the challenge of accepting yourself and where you are today, in order to grow tomorrow.

Regrets. We all have them, they’re honestly inevitable in pretty much any person’s life. And as a young adult, I have plenty of them. But I feel like we can fix our regrets sometimes. How, you may be wondering? Well, here is an example from my own life. I was never really involved in many activities or clubs during my first year of college, and I never went to many events. I know, that’s not really the “normal” thing to do during the first year, because that’s all you ever hear is get involved to make friends. I understand the point of saying that, and of course I wanted to make some friends, but honestly, I was just flat out terrified to go to anything. Maybe that all seems a little extreme, but to me, it was definitely very real.

All those quotes you see about “face your fears,” “you can do it,” and “be brave” meant nothing and just didn’t help, neither did anything that anyone said. I usually believe that words are pretty powerful, but not in this case, at least. And that is basically how it was for the whole time I was at school, I barely ventured out to anything extra-curricular. Then, it came time to go home for summer. Although nearly four months of idle time hasn’t been great because there’s too much time to think, I believe it has also helped me realize some things. I realized I could handle so much more than I ever thought I could. College definitely tested my ability of how much I can take. I figured out that, maybe I should have been ready to go out and get involved in every single thing that I could, but truthfully, I wasn’t, and I don’t think anything could have made me ready. I had to do it all on my own.

For a while, I think I was able to fake the fact that I wasn’t ready, but ‘fake it till you make it’ can only last so long. That was the problem, I had faked it too long, and I didn’t know how to make it. And my difficulties because of the hydrocephalus probably just made everything worse. I was afraid of not knowing if people were using sarcasm, if I was making eye contact, or not picking up on nonverbal cues. Also, I think I was worried about what people might think of me if those things were to happen. Scared to death is probably the best statement to describe how I went through the year. I realize now that I shouldn’t have allowed anything to stop me, but that was the issue: the fear.

In returning to the theme of regret, perhaps I should have been involved in activities my first year, but I can’t go back and change that. I was a different person then. I am now focusing on what I can fix and being a better version of the person I was. In a way, I regret the fact that I didn’t do more things during the first year, but, I don’t regret the fact that I was able to learn from the experiences I did have. That’s what college is all about: learning. Not just through hitting the books, but learning about who you are as a person. The best thing is that, if, by the first year you don’t like parts of the person you are becoming, there’s still time to change that. To me, there’s no reason to regret that. Thinking back, the expression ‘live and learn’ is the best way to sum up the first year of college experience for me, even though I was so scared of it all.

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