5. You’re Not Good at Everything | 31 Days

This is post 5/31 of Write 31 Days. See full list HERE.

One point. One measly, stinkin’ point. How in the world did I fail by one point?!?!

This wasn’t my first CLEP exam but it was my first fail.  Standing there with my score in hand, my fried brain feeling so utterly at sea, I had no idea what to do next. The worst part about the whole thing was I had to wait six months to retake the test. Stupid test.

It was my first attempt at the College Algebra CLEP exam. Math. The one subject that always been my arch nemesis in school. I don’t have a natural liking or ability for it so any good grades I managed to receive came from long hard hours of working at it. And I generally did not enjoy it. Math. The only subject I’ve ever been tutored in while in high school. And now, after all the blood, sweat, and tears I put into prepping for that exam, I failed. By one point.

Ugh.

I have a confession to make. I wasn’t going to share this but…I snoozed again this morning. Yeah, I know, Monday morning and I already fell off the wagon. Now I’m behind in my routine. Again. 

We all have a list of things we’re not particularly good at. Those things we can’t seem to conquer, master, or get over. Sometimes they’re such simple things and we don’t know why it’s so tough to just do it

I should be able to do this! My friends can do it, why is it so hard to get it done?!

We compare, we calculate, we reason, we make excuses. 

Stop it. Let me tell you something. 

You’re not good at everything.

You’re just not. And that’s okay, you don’t have to be. I think we all know this intellectually but then we face a task or situation that requires us to perform and we kick ourselves for not being able to deliver. It happens in school, on the job, in our families, with our friends. 

So I want you to say it. Go ahead and say it. 

I’m not good at everything and I don’t have to be.

Now the pressure is off and you can focus on two things: 1. cultivating and capitalizing on the things you’re naturally good at, 2. searching out the help you need to work on the things you’re not good at but still need to get done or delegating the task to someone else who is actually good at it.   

Obviously, that College Algebra exam wasn’t something I could delegate, so I got a tutor to help me work through the material and prep for a re-take. I passed the second time around and washed my hands of math classes forever.

Until my final term at TESC when I had no choice but to fulfill a three-credit slot with a math class. Are you serious!?

Sometimes you don’t win. You have to grin and bare it.

I’m still not great at math. I still snooze in the morning and struggle with my routines despite my best intentions. I’m not good at everything and I don’t have to be. I do know what I want to be good at and I have to work hard at it until I am. However, I won’t kick myself when I fail at the things that don’t come naturally to me. I tried and I’m going to try again. I tried and I’m going to figure out what needs to change in order to get it right the next time around.

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The BF and I have this saying about knowing enough to figure out what we don’t know. And that’s education. You know that there are things that need to be done and knowledge and expertise that are required to accomplish them. So you figure out how to get it done, you don’t just leave it or do it halfway cause you’re not good at it.

You know you need those credits for school so figure out how to get it done. You may not like the subject and that class may not apply to anything in your real life but you have the satisfaction of figuring out a problem and doing your best.

You know that project needs to be done at work or in your home so you figure out how to get it done yourself or delegate it to someone who will do it for you. Now you have the satisfaction of a job well done and the added experience tucked in your pocket for next time.

You’re not good at everything. That doesn’t me you can’t or shouldn’t get it done, you just have to put in extra effort to make it happen.

I’m through with CLEP exams and I’ll never take another math class (fingers crossed) but that just leaves room for the million and one other things that I’m not good at but need to figure out a way to get done. So I’ll keep learning and growing so I can master and conquer.

I’m not good at everything but I’ll do my best to do my best at everything.

#write31days

1. Speed Limits | 31 Days

This is post 1/31 of Write 31 Days. See full list HERE.

I was listening to The Music Makers podcast the other week and the host featured an article about this guy who got his degree at Berklee College of Music in two years. It wasn’t his plan. A former student/professor from Berklee told him “I’ll bet I can teach you two years’ of theory and arranging in only a few lessons. I suspect you can graduate in two years if you understand there’s no speed limit.”

This 17-year-old student took the professor up on the offer. With his help, this young man did, indeed, get his degree in 2 years from the Berklee College of Music.

“…there’s no speed limit.”

I was about 17 when I started out on my path to college. Still finishing up my high school requirements, I was made aware of something very similar to the Berklee student.

You can get your degree in two years. CLEP tests, DSSTs,…transfer credits…work at your own pace. You can get it done fast. And you can do it debt free! 

A BA in two years. Yeah, I was up for that.

Yeeeeeah, that’s not at all what happened. It took me more like…*ahem* 8 years.

Total fail.

People pleasers don’t like letting other people down. I’m a people pleaser who told people I was going to get my degree in less than the standard 4 years. Cause I was going the unconventional route. Bright eyed, bushy tailed, with lots of grand notions about what my educational path was going to be, I was not ready for what was to come.

By the time I was 20, I knew I’d lost out on my window of time. Resigned to the notion that I needed something more substantial than the Communications degree I was pursuing, I went to medical assistant school. In 8 short months, I’d interned at a hospital, and landed a job in the front office of a dental clinic. Seventeen-year-old me was not looking for that.

But I had a job. And I was still pursuing my degree. And I hadn’t gotten sucked into the vortex of college debt yet.

The following year, after taking as many CLEP tests, DSST exams, and Straighterline courses I could possibly take, I transferred them to Thomas Edison State College. By that time I was working in a medical clinic. I had a job. And I was pursuing my degree. And I finally had my first college loan. Small vortex, but sucked in just the same.

Ugh.

“…there’s no speed limit.”

The Berklee professor-turned-music-studio-owner was completely right. There is no speed limit when it comes to education. That message resonated with me when I heard it but dug up a tinge of chagrin. My plan was that two-year degree. Homeschoolers are known for being unconventional and disregarding the standard pace. But my story didn’t go as planned.

Thankfully, the logic works both ways. No speed limits means that it’s okay when you have to slow down. No one is keeping track when there are detours and pit stops.

My story is my own, rich with experience that I am forever grateful for. My education was my own unconventional creation, done on my terms which was the point in the first place.

I’m in no way saying that college is wasted on the young but I will say that, as mature as I’m often told I am, I know that 24-year-old me appreciated some of those later classes more than 20-year-old me would have. I cranked out more seasoned work and the zillion papers I wrote came from a richer place. That’s a good feeling.

Now, 25, I sit in the open air of the early morning. The sun is waking up, my morning tea is getting cold in the delicious a.m. chill and I’m waiting for my diploma to arrive in the mail. Lol. I’ve gotten other pieces of paper accolading my accomplishments but this one is different because I worked hardest for it. Like the tortoise in the story, I kept up my pace, slow as it was, and finished the race I’d set out to complete.

I am content with my story. It was not perfect. I would tweak it if I could. But I love the journey I took and I’m grateful for the experience I have now tucked into my pocket.

There is no speed limit. I will hang my diploma on the wall and continue with my unconventional life.

#write31days

 

CLEP Prep Resource List

With the cost of education these days, students are looking for ways to get a quality learning experience without breaking the bank.

That’s where college level exams like CLEP & DSST come in.

I tested out of more than half of my college degree. It was tough and while I wouldn’t change my experience for anything, I wish I knew then what I know now.

If college level exams are something you want to pursue, let me give you what I wish someone had given me when I was starting out – a resource list. Whether you’re taking one or two tests or almost two dozen like me, CLEP prep should be painless because, after all, you’re trying to save time and money!

Maybe you’ve got a textbook or a study guide but you’re looking for something else to shake things up and give you some variety.

These resources are all available online, you don’t have to go anywhere to access them. All but two of them are free or have free versions but those two that have fees are well worth checking out. I’ve used all the resources myself and many of them have just gotten more awesome since my testing days.

PINTEREST CLEP-DSST Resource List Cover

Fill out the form below to get your free copy of my resource list! 

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If you have any questions about CLEP, DSST, or how I tested out of half of my college degree, you can leave a comment below or drop me an email at elyssanalani@purpleinkstudios.net.

Happy Tuesday!