I Dropped Out of College: Why it is the best decision I ever made

This past weekend marked what should have been my college graduation. Class of 2019. I still get the Facebook group notifications even though I dropped out of college two years ago. My feed has been flooded the past few days with pictures of my friends in cap and gowns, and I can’t help but feel if just for a second, that I should be in those pictures with them. When I first felt that throb in my chest, that guilt and jealousy, I found myself quickly rewinding and checking myself because the simple truth is, dropping out of college when I did was the best thing for me.

Not for one second do I regret my decision to leave school. I was at the top of my classes, I was getting straight A’s on every project, on every assignment, I was the person to beat. But I was miserable. I was working a full time job, juggling a long distance relationship, trying to convince myself that I was happy studying a major I had no interest in. I was appeasing the system that had placed me in higher education, and I was miserable.

Do not get me wrong here. I think College is very important. I think any person who has dedicated their time and energy to getting a higher education is strong and beautiful and wonderful, and should be very proud of themselves. I am not here to bash anyone who has made that choice; they are very admirable and extremely necessary in society.

All of that though does not change that college was simply not for me. I am a happier, stronger, and still very well educated person today because I dropped out of college.

Let me explain.

I did not go to college because I had a passion for something. I went to college because that is what everyone was telling me to do. Teachers, advisers, family members, friends – almost every person in my life convinced me college was the best option. At times it seemed college was the only option. Coming from a small town, to some people, not going to college is much like a death sentence.

Still, college was not for me.

There are people who when I tell them my story, tell me I picked the wrong major. It would have been better for me if I’d picked a different major. I picked the wrong college. It would have been different for me had I picked a different college. I disagree with all of these statements. It wasn’t the majors fault. It wasn’t the college’s fault. It was all on me.

I studied hard. I got good grades. I had amazing professors. I learned plenty. I didn’t fail at college by any means. But I was a terrible human being during those two years. I was miserable. I got up every morning dreading life no matter what I had planned for the day. I knew I was going to have to sit in class and pretend to enjoy the lectures I was sitting through. I sat next to people with fire in their bellies, people so passionate about the subject that they would stand to answer questions and I remember thinking – “give me some of that fire”. I remember just wanting to feel something, but that’s not how it works.

The day I dropped out of college, the only thing I remember feeling was relief. I expected to feel anger at myself for quitting. I expected to feel ashamed of myself. I expected to feel regret or fear looking at the loans I was still going to have to pay off. But no. All I felt was relief. And to this day, all I have ever truly felt about my decision to drop out of college is relief.

I have no idea where I am going to end up. I may go back to college one day. I may decide never to go back. But at this point in my life, I have a job. I pay my own bills. I am doing something I love to do. I have plans for the next couple of years. I am happy. And above all, I am not ashamed of the choices I made to get here.

Going to college is a choice so many people make, and for so many people, it is absolutely the right decision. Also though, there are plenty of people who choose not to and still live abundant lives and are no less a member of society than those that have a degree.

I will end this post by saying simply this: be you. Choose what makes you happy. Do what makes you happy. As long as your bills are getting paid, you aren’t breaking any laws, you aren’t hurting anyone else, and you are happy, then who should be a judge of what is right in your life but yourself?

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Finding My Moment With Betty And Joe

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Recently I have been trying to step out of my comfort zone in regards to how I use my free time. Falling into a routine of wake up, eat breakfast, binge watch Netflix, take a shower, dress, and go to work for eight hours is comfortable but not productive or entertaining. Being the introverted little nugget that I am, baby steps are needed here – but the task will get done.

I go through phases when it comes to my physical activity. I used to go to the gym basically every day, and while I saw results in my appearance, I didn’t love going. This isn’t to bash gym goers or say there is anything wrong with it – more power to you. It just wasn’t exactly for me. So instead, I now keep to a routine of at home workouts that give me the same results. However, I was lacking the cardio I so crave. In High School, I ran Cross Country and after graduating, kept at it with the gym on the treadmill or bike. Now, missing the peace moving gave me, I was on the hunt for something different.

I found this boardwalk in the town I recently started working in (picture above) that is quiet and conveniently only five minutes from my job. So now, instead of watching one more episode of New Girl that I have already watched at least five times, I get up and leave an hour early, coffee in one hand and water in the other. Some days I opt to keep my head phones in as I walk or jog down the boardwalk, listening to music and avoiding as much eye contact as possible. On other days, I keep my head up and ears clear and I smile and wave to each person I pass.

If you’ve kept with me to this point, today was a head phone kind of day. My soul was tired, but I knew an extra long walk was just what I needed. So I charged my phone to full battery, and left two hours early instead of one. I bundled up in hat, coat, and scarf, pushed my head phones into my ears, and began my walk.

Immediately, I begin to feel lighter. And today, the people feel different. Even with my head phones in, people are still smiling, waving, even saying hi as they pass me. And I’m reminded why stepping out of my comfort zone and adding new routines to my day is good for me.

When I pass a bench labeled “Betty and Joe’s Lucky spot”, I feel inclined to sit down and take a break, even though my legs aren’t tired and I don’t need to rest. Maybe my mind does. Maybe my soul does. So I allow it to. And sitting here with my view of the ocean, the waves gently lapping the rocks, smiling faces passing me in the chilly breeze, I do indeed feel lucky. This week has been hard, I’ve found it harder to smile and breathing hasn’t come as easily, but right now in this moment, I feel pretty damn lucky.

I encourage you to move. Get up and move. Dance, walk, run, leap, for heaven’s sake go into your yard or parking lot and just scream as you run in circles with your arms spread. People might look at you funny wondering what’s gotten into you, but I promise you, even if just for a moment, you will feel better. And sometimes a moment is all we need to convince us to keep going.

Break your routine. Add something fun. It doesn’t have to be big or exciting or even out of the box. Just find your moment. You deserve it.

I Am Both – Embracing My Unique

Me 2018

Embracing My Unique

I have been both the quiet girl with too much to say and no voice to say it and the girl too loud, who every person stares at even though she is only speaking her mind. I have been the girl smiling shyly and also the girl jumping for joy around the room because her happiness can’t be held in any longer. I just want you to know that I see you. Whichever girl who are, I see you. And I still struggle with deciding which I want to be; because society likes to put us in boxes. You’re either shy or outgoing. You can’t be both. You’re either sad or happy. You can’t be both.

So let me tell you this. Both girl’s are perfect the way they are. And on my best days, I AM BOTH. And while society judges that as wrong, labels it as abnormal and tucks it away out of sight, I say we should wear it proud. Because I am the quiet girl who chooses to hold back, and the next second or minute or day or year, maybe I will be the girl who you can’t get to shut up even if you wanted to. And that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with me. It merely means I can’t choose between the two. And I wouldn’t want to.

I am both. And they both have their perks. For the first fifteen years of my life, I was under the impression that I had to choose. So, I chose to be quiet all of the time. I sat in the background and I listened. And I learned a lot. I learned about people and situations, I learned how to empathize on such a deep level, I learned how to feel everything because I was doing it every second of every day. When you aren’t speaking, you aren’t exhaling your emotions, you feel every single one of them individually. This has been something I’ve kept with me, and I love it about myself. Being quiet and withdrawn, I also learned how to make real friends. People came to me who needed me, who wanted to be heard and knew I would listen – this is a complete feeling of wholeness you can’t understand until you’ve felt it. I loved being the quiet girl. But society didn’t. People would always ask me “why are you so quiet”? They would turn to the people I was with, as if I was incapable of talking at all and ask “Does she ever say anything?” – And then I found my people. I found the people who accepted my quiet, who loved sitting with me and talking about life and love and being – that or not talking at all.

I also love being the loud girl. After graduating from High School and moving away from my hometown, I have had to find a different voice within myself. This one is louder, but she’s thoughtful and still speaks with intent most of the time. But sometimes she doesn’t. Sometimes things come out of my mouth that I don’t mean to say, and I love that about me now. I love that I can say anything without fear of looking stupid because I no longer care. I love that I can laugh as loudly as I want now and know that most of the time, people are going to be laughing with me, not at me. It feels amazing to be outwardly happy, loudly happy, and watch what that does to the people in the room. Spreading the emotions I have kept inward for so long is lovely, and seeing people feel them with me is even better. Being able to express to anyone when I am mad or sad or happy, telling people what I want when I want it has opened so many doors for me, and is something the quiet girl in me would have taken much longer to do.

I am both. I invite you to be both. Boxing yourself into one way of living, one way of being, closes so many doors that could be open for you if you just allow them to be. Invite them in. Open your arms. You might find that you love the side of yourself you’ve been shutting out just as much as you love the one you’ve been.

Merry Christmas From a New Adult

Christmas this year was not the same. I worked both Christmas Eve and Christmas, the same old giddy feeling I got as a child was missing – but that’s okay. The spark seemed to be gone, and at first, I felt empty – like maybe the Christmas spirit is something you only get to enjoy as a kid, and now, as a new adult, I won’t ever feel it again.

And then Christmas weekend came. My parents drove the four hours down to see me for only two days because they knew it would make me happy. When I drove through the Dunkin Donut’s drive through for coffee Christmas Eve morning, the lady infront of me paid for my coffee. At work, a resident gave me a hug so big I thought I would melt, and told me he loved me simply for giving him a second milkshake when he asked for it.

Maybe I’m not sitting around a Christmas tree with my family at 5 AM, which I miss, but the spark isn’t gone. Christmas for me has never been about presents. I like giving – seeing the excitement on a friend’s face as they open a gift you gave them, getting hugs and kisses, and the warmth family brings. But receiving has never been what it’s about for me. I’m also not super religious – so Christmas for me has always been about the spirit – about everyone caring and giving and being. The spark is still here.

It lives in the Facetime chat with my family this evening where my niece blows me kisses and my grandparents laugh at the funny filters the phone puts on their faces. It lives in the Christmas lights on cars driving down the Highway, and in the stranger who wished me a Merry Christmas this morning in her Santa hat as I walked to my car. It lives in Secret Santa at work where co workers smile knowing someone thought of them.

Christmas is a feeling, and if you open yourself up to it, it’s not a feeling that can just go away. So don’t lose faith. You’re growing up. Things are changing. But that spark you felt as a child, waiting for Santa and being so giddy you couldn’t sleep – that feeling isn’t gone. It’s still there inside of you. It’s just waiting to be coaxed out.

When You’re at the Bottom, Look Around

Last week my car broke down and the whole contents of my savings account later I felt at the bottom of a really big mountain with no way back to the top. I had spent months climbing and climbing, only to fall back down with scraped knees and bruised elbows in one big push. In that moment, standing in a foreign driveway, watching my beat up but trusty old car being towed away, I felt incredibly lost for the first time in months.

You see, it’s so easy to feel on top of the world when everything is going your way. But when the unplanned happens, the things that you can’t pencil into your calendar, it’s not so easy to know what the next step is.

When my boyfriend and I were waiting in his car for the tow truck to arrive, after I had called him at almost nine o’clock at night and he had arrived in his PJ’s without a question, his sister offered to bring me food because I hadn’t eaten dinner yet. When I called my parents, in tears and falling apart over a composition of parts and machinery, they helped in every single way they could from hundreds of miles away. When I crawled into bed that night, my car was waiting at a garage to be examined, I knew a bill was about to be placed in my hands that I couldn’t manage, but I had a ride to work the next three days, I had parents who would do anything to make sure I could make ends meet, and I had a boyfriend who would drop anything with just one call saying that I needed him.

You see, it’s easy when you’re on top of the world to feel put together. It’s not so easy when you’ve been knocked down, to feel like you’re going to be okay.

There is no arguing that I am incredibly blessed. With little money, and a car that for a while barely ran, I still have a car. I still have enough money to buy food. I still have friends and family that would do anything for me. When I look at that, it’s hard not to feel on top of the mountain again. It’s easy to feel like you’ve been pushed down. But maybe it was just time for you to look at your life again, and realize that while you’re striving for what you want, maybe what you have isn’t really all that bad.

Falling In Love Early

I found my soulmate long before I even knew what romance was. Funny isn’t it? You’re just playing in the backyard with a person who laughs at the same things as you, comforting a person who cries when you cry, and all of a sudden you can’t imagine your life without them. I met my soulmate before I could even walk or talk. That’s the thing about a true soulmate. They often aren’t even romantic at all. They’ve seen you through it all. They were the one person who stayed when everyone else left. They believed in you when you didn’t even believe in yourself. They are much more than a best friend. Sure, we can simplify it and call it that, but this bond deserves a title much larger than that. You can’t really know it until you feel it, this connection that crosses boundaries. It’s almost as if you become mind readers. You know what they are going to say before they say it. You know they are in trouble before they call you. You know to message them before your phone even goes off. You can be thousands of miles apart, and you still know the exact moment that they need you. It’s almost supernatural, and that’s why it deserves a much bigger title. Sure, you’ll meet many people you love after them. You’ll fall in love and get married. You’ll have other friends. But your soulmate will always be your soulmate. No one can replace them.

-CM

If you are human, please read

If you are a human and you are struggling with day to day life, keep reading.

If you are still reading and you are scared of the future, picture this: It is ten years from now. You are sitting on your sofa, a book in your lap, the person you love sitting beside you with their feet in your lap. They are smiling down at their phone about something they just saw, and you don’t feel the need to know what it was, because if it gives them that smile, it makes you happy too. It’s cold outside but it’s warm in your living room, and your space smells like chocolate chip cookies. You are whole and you are happy.

If that made your heart relax and you are stillĀ reading but you don’t know how to slow down enough to enjoy moments like this, picture this: It is next week. You have been working for two weeks straight already with no day off and your feet feel as if they are going to fall off. Your brain is running on empty, you keep forgetting the smallest of things, you are sure just a few hours of rest would restore you but you refuse to take them because you have goals. It’s early morning and you get a call. That promotion is yours. You are going to have to work another week before you get Saturday off, but it was all worth it. You finally feel enough.

If you’re still reading, and you’re not sure what you want in life, that’s okay. Picture yourself right now, in this moment. Are you happy? Good. Are you sad? That’s okay. Now picture yourself tomorrow. Are you happy? Good. Are you sad? Bake some cookies and remember that life won’t always be this way.

If you are human and you are struggling with day to day life and you are reading this, join the club. You are not alone. And that is a very good thing.

Seasonal Happiness

Sometimes I wish I lived in a tropical paradise so that

every year as the ground begins to freeze

maybe my heart and body would have a chance.

They tell me it’s seasonal depression as the snow begins to fall

and so does my stomach but I think I would prefer to call it

seasonal happiness for me who gets

maybe two good months of easy smiles

and forces them through heartbreak the other ten.

My heart loves the Holiday spirit but my body hates the cold

my body loves the hot chocolate and festive music but my heart hates

the forced nameless sadness that makes itself home in my chest.

They tell me it’s normal and that it will pass

but for twenty one years I have lived every day

waiting for it to pass.

Maybe next year this seasonal happiness will stay.

 

-CM

Social Interactions Reincarnated

Making friends is hard for people like us with brains in our stomachs

and mouths on our hands so let’s make it easy.

I don’t want to know how your day was –

it was good, mine was good, end of conversation –

start over.

I don’t want to talk about the weather –

it’s sunny, it’s supposed to rain tomorrow, it’s getting chilly, end of conversation –

start over.

I want to talk about what gives you that feeling,

you know the one –

that feeling as if you have the whole world in your palm and

you could do anything or be anyone –

I want to know what gives you that feeling so maybe

one day I can give it to you.

I want to know at what point you were your saddest –

I want to know so maybe the next time I see the signs

I will already have the warm blanket and hot chocolate waiting.

Let’s talk about love, loss, fear, anger –

let’s talk about life.

Making friends is hard so let’s make it easy.

Nice to meet you, I’m damaged goods, I wear my heart on my sleeve,

I don’t talk when I should and talk too much when I shouldn’t,

I have a lot of opinions, I don’t know exactly what I want or how to get it

but I know one day I will get it

I would do anything for my friends and do very little for myself –

Nice to meet you.

I think we’ll get along just fine.

 

-CM

Stop Worrying

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Dear me (whenever you may find this),

You are going to want to give up. If there is one thing I know for certain right now, as I sit here in my chicken pj’s in a tiny one bedroom apartment, waiting for our boyfriend to come home with some Halloween candy is this – you are going to feel like running. Not from anything, not to anything, just leaving – because that’s easier than staying and fighting. Because running is the easiest thing in the world to do. Giving up takes no effort, you don’t have to face anything – giving up is the quitters way out, and there are going to be so many times that you desperately want to take this route.

Don’t.

You are going to want a do over. There are going to be times when you’re sitting on your bathroom floor, a towel draped over your body, your hair drenched and soaking your skin, and you are going to want a way to travel back in time. You will be sobbing, slamming your fists into the tub until your knuckles bleed, begging whatever higher power there might be to just rip you away from here, because this pain hurts too much.

They won’t.

You are going to make it. There are going to be moments, after the crying, after the spacing in front of a computer screen, after the missing and the waiting, after the pain – moments that will make every wrong turn, every seemingly horrible mistake – so incredibly worth it. Moments, when even the things you thought you regretted the most, you would do all over again if it meant you got this moment – this moment right here – to do over again.

Cherish this.

Cherish this life. It doesn’t matter where you are right now. It doesn’t matter what part of you is hurting. It doesn’t matter how badly you think you screwed up, how badly you want a chance to change something – cherish this life, each breath, each moment, each and every second means something.

Cherish it.

Love,

Me (twenty one years old about to eat a shit ton of candy with my boyfriend in our one bedroom apartment four hours away from home in a chicken costume – struggling – but happy)