Almost Good Enough

1IMG_4856 by Steph Holton

I recently applied to be a student commencement speaker. On paper, I’m pretty qualified for the job. I did three years of speech and debate, I recently presented a paper at a conference and I even spoke at my high school graduation, all with a fair amount of success.

When I had the opportunity to audition for this role, however, I bombed. My knees shook the whole time, and near the end of my speech—which I knew so well I could probably say it backwards—I completely blanked and spent several seconds in awkward silence. A week later I got one of those “thank you, but we decided to go another way” emails.

Failing really sucks, especially when you get so close to something, and then fall short. I was disappointed when I got the email, and for a moment I felt like I shouldn’t have tried in the first place; if I hadn’t tried, I couldn’t have been disappointed about being almost good enough. I also tried to justify my failure; maybe I’d bombed because it’s infinitely more terrifying to give a speech to 15 very distinguishable faces than to a faceless crown of several thousand, or maybe if I’d just run through my speech one more time…

Then I realized that I’ve had the opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences with all of you as a PSUChronicles student blogger for the last three years, and it’s been right for me. I think a lot of times when we fail, it’s not that we weren’t a good fit for a position, it’s that we maybe weren’t the right fit. And if we don’t try things we might fail at, we’ll never find that right fit.

I’m still a little sore at myself for messing up my audition, but that’s life. The only thing we can do when things like this happen is to forgive ourselves and keep trying. As for me, I’m going to keep trying in the way that I know best—through writing—and as graduation swiftly approaches, I want to say congrats to my fellow graduates, and to all of you, thanks for reading.

Learning from my mistakes

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I attended Portland State 2010-2011. I became a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, president of the Black Cultural Affairs Board, student leader in the LSAMP program and was very involved with Multicultural Affairs. All these activities on top of studying computer science and paying out-of-state tuition overwhelmed me. I said “yes” to far too many commitments. I was on a $30,000 search for what I wanted to do with my life.

Sequentially, before I let the weight of my challenges become a burden, I felt that a return to my home town of Kent, WA would allow me time to soul search and gain confidence to find my way in this world  and save some money as well. One thing I did not give up on was remaining a student. Over the 2011 winter break, I enrolled at Highline Community College in Des Moines, WA. Little did I know my life would change forever.
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