Why my failure means success

-Enter me in high school.
-Straight A student. AP classes.
-First chair and section leader in two different school orchestras.
-Two-time state champion in competitive speech.
-Three-time national qualifier, and two-time national quarter finalist in speech and debate.
-Winner of Battle of the Bands, having never rehearsed with said band.
-Invited by choir director to sing with senior choir at Commencement, having never been in choir.
-Get accepted into each and every college applied to.
-Graduate with honors and receive Hanover’s full tuition scholarship through Global Scholars Program.

I had accomplished and succeeded with everything I had done with those four years of my life. I was a success story that my parents still brag about to their coworkers today.

Then came college. Things didn’t seem much different. English classes? Nailed them. Political science and sociology classes? Dean’s List. Theology and Latin? Am I even trying?

Life is easier for some than others. Some people are more naturally athletic, and some are more feeble. Intellect comes innately to certain people, and others find themselves needing to put more time into studying. Some get born into wealth, and others have to work their way into it.

Each person has to play the hand he or she is dealt, and my hand happened to be an easy one.

But I didn’t want easy. I still don’t want easy. I switched majors five times before officially declaring at the end of my sophomore year here. I couldn’t decide what I wanted. I was good at everything. I wanted to do everything, but I knew I had to narrow myself down to something. Then came computer science.

The introductory class was phenomenal. It took an entirely different style of thinking to solve these problems and code solutions. I couldn’t skate by with minimum effort. If I didn’t put in hours and hours of studying each week I wouldn’t do well. Finished out with an A in the class and officially declared my major.

The face of failure, or a sign of finally finding success?
The face of failure, or a sign of finally finding success?

I was a junior in my fall semester when I started my major. I had only finished one class, so my advisor devised a way for me to graduate on time; I would take three computer science classes each semester from here on out.

I would also have to take classes out of sequence, meaning that I would be in advanced classes before I had the opportunity to learn the basics for them.

As a result, I’ve been locked in the greatest academic challenge I’ve ever encountered. Some CS courses I’m acing with relatively ease. In others I need Advil for the headaches they give me, struggling to keep a C.

By my personal standards, I’m failing myself. But that’s why I’m here. Not to do what I’ve always done, or study what I’ve always been good at, but to intellectually grow and find myself in ways that I never would have imagined. In that way, I know I need to find my failures here before I can truly succeed.

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