‘You’re not college material’

Miki Markovich

I stared at my high school guidance counselor wondering what the hell I was supposed to do now. Without a college education, I couldn’t imagine a career path that deviated too far from food service.

Perhaps it was my limited point of reference coming from a long line of career criminals and all. Although I had zero desire to join the family business, I wasn’t fond of picturing a life filled with spilled Cokes and a sore back.

“But I’m in Beta … and I earned a scholarship to Duke in junior high. I swear I’m smart enough,” I told him. Sure, I was failing half my classes, but I was working the midnight shift, attending non-stop band competitions and being stalked. Things were … complicated. I was confident that with a little more sleep, some decent food and a bit of stability, I could excel; however, my guidance counselor was having none of it.

He suggested I take the ASFAB and meet with some military recruiters, quickly dismissing me and sending me on my way. I relented.

Around the same time, I started meeting these short-haired men with perfect posture and big promises, I took the ACT. Not knowing the proper process, I had my scores sent to four colleges without applying to any of them. Thankfully the stars aligned as I literally bumped into a college recruiter in the central atrium. She walked me through the application process and even drove me hundreds of miles to audition for music scholarships.

OK, so I didn’t go to one of my dream colleges. But, by the time I graduated high school, my scholarship to Duke was more like a coupon anyway. Here’s the thing, I know I ended up exactly where I needed to be and with almost every penny paid for my four-year duration. Culver-Stockton College was large enough to offer everything I was looking for, but small enough that I felt safe. For the first time in my short life, I felt like I fit in just for being me.

Sometimes, people might not believe in us or buy into our dreams. And you know what? That’s OK, as long as we don’t buy into their shit as well. Rarely do people regret going after what they truly desire more than they regret staying paralyzed in the status quo.

It’s your life to live. Whatever it is you want to do, at whatever juncture you find yourself, start that journey. It might come out exactly as you dreamed it, or it might turn out even better. Consider heeding the advice of the great Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowline. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Miki Markovich is a seeker of beauty and truth, traveler of interesting roads, saver of furry souls, typer of words, iPhone lover and mac head. You can find her on Twitter at @mikimarkovich and @fiveminutezen. If you’re looking to go from pissed to blissed in five minutes flat, find balance or improve the quality of your life through self care, check out her website at fiveminutezen.com.

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