Describe a time when people around you were more confident in your accomplishing a task than you were.

University and Failure

During my university years, I tended to maintain a fatalist attitude: I had entered my undergraduate without a notion of how one even applies to college let alone how to achieve a Bachelor’s degree. Neither my father or stepmom knew how to guide me through the process, maintaining smiling faces as I stumbled and tripped into several college applications, failed scholarships, and finally into Seattle, where I studied at University of Washington. My dad had repeated over and over: I’m just glad to see you get into college!

To be glad that I had just entered an academic property seems to be a low standard for my future accomplishments. What about actually succeeding grade-wise, extra-curricular-wise, and finally succeeding to grab that diploma with my own two hands? In my mind, that was a whole other ballpark.

I don’t think that it is quite apparent what a gulf of accomplishment it is for a first-generation university student to achieve their undergraduate degree. Prior familial and life experiences screamed in the back of my head that I was destined for a moderate life with a high school degree. I was always prepared to fail out or quit, join the military or some other organization and build my resume outside of the academic system.

But my parents were optimistic. Of course they should be optimistic. I am not a potato-brained high schooler that couldn’t handle academia. I had shown for nearly two decades of my life that I was built to succeed in college. But I do not judge myself by what I exhibit, but by how I truly feel I am. Clueless; I only recently learned that one has to take another test to get into grad school. Who knew.

But I grew into my fear of failure and the expectations of family (and university friends); I succeeded with good grades but a strong lack of ambition for more than a solid GPA. Each semester I wanted to engross myself in schoolwork and shy away from the goings-on of the campus and surrounding culture. I wanted to just not fail, and I achieved that. For better or worse.