Day 5, Lesson 12:
Every year I find a way or make one to attend CAU’s homecoming. It just has to happen for me… and this year I found myself explaining WHY it’s important for me to attend to more people than usual. All I could tell people was that for me homecoming is more than just the parties… its about linking up with the people who saw your struggle, who supported your dreams and then celebrating our success! Even if you’re not where you want to be… homecoming is still the place for you to be… sometimes you just need to be surrounded by successful people to give you that push.
“You are not your mistake, but now you have a choice to go hard or really go home.” – P.Rob
6 years ago this month, I had a lapse of judgement at age 20 during my junior year in college. And for that–I suffered a list of consequences and spent a large amount of time beating myself up and questioning what would become of my future. Looking back on it now… I probably spent more time beating myself up than needed, but when you expect more from yourself you don’t need others to punish you because you’ll handle it first. As my senior year arrived it was still bothering me. When I was sitting in my professor’s office going over my portfolio, I explained my situation to him. I had been taking classes from him since I first entered the department… joked with him often and took his critiques very seriously, so I felt comfortable to discuss everything with him.When I was done, he asked me if I was through feeling sorry for myself and then said, “You are not your mistake, but now you have a choice to go hard or really go home. You have gained another strike against you and now you know what you need to do to succeed. It’s simple… either you’re hungry or you’re not.”
P. Rob’s comments stuck with me…after the conversation his whole suck your tears up and keep it pushing attitude made me strive a little harder. Even though it took me a little longer to put myself in a position where I wanted to be… our conversation was important. 6 years later–I still have an extra strike against me, but I’ve accepted that I just have to grind a little harder than others, strive to be about 10 times better than the competition and remember the importance of humility.
Every year I return to CAU for homecoming as a reminder that “I am not my mistake…” We don’t all return for the same reasons…and we definitely don’t all share the same journey, but the one thing we have in common is that Clark Atlanta taught us some of our most important lessons. Homecoming is always a way to celebrate our success with some of the people who watched us deal with our greatest struggles.
Lesson #12 isn’t one I learned this year, but it’s one that I constantly remind myself about. In order to grow, I truly believe that sometimes you have to remember the mistakes you made and encourage yourself to keep moving forward. On the other hand… if you’re not where you want to be in life sometimes you need to be around your friends who are thriving to gain some inspiration and prepare to celebrate your wins.
If you’re struggling with something today–Be encouraged, continue to strive for greater, let your support team do just that–support you…and remember that you are not your mistake.
Here’s a recap from my homecoming experience…I also made my way to Fort Valley’s homecoming to celebrate with friends there too (I was a bit of a homecoming hopper this year).