What experience made you grow the fuck up?

I don't know what it is about this thread but I am now motivated to type something that I haven't said to many people outside of a select few. So in advance, I'm sorry for the wall of text.

When I graduated high school, I thought I was pretty tough shit. My friends all went on to Duke, Berkeley, Harvard, Columbia, while I went to a state school for engineering with a nice big scholarship. (You can probably guess which one from my post history.) It's a great school at half the price, so no regrets. Had a high GPA, took a lot of AP's, so I thought I could skate through engineering, too.


I was kicked out of engineering after my freshman year for academic performance, losing both my scholarship and academic future in one letter. There was also a lot of family issues at the same time that played into my mental state, but let's be honest here: It's my own shitty behavior and I fucked up.

For a month it seemed like I was going to be disowned. I was the black sheep of my family, my extended family, my friends, everyone I've ever known. Do you know how disheartening it is to be out with friends and they all talk about their 3.7+'s in an Ivy League and all the cool stuff they're doing while you're sitting there with your water not sure if you can even have an education or a future? Or how your parents skirted the question when their friends asked about you? Well it's bad. It got so bad that I believed there was only two choices: running away or suicide. I distinctly remember choosing not to go with the suicide because I hated the idea of causing pain. I'm a very friendly guy, and I love making people feel better and smile. Being the guy to cause someone pain hurts.

So I packed my hiking pack with a sleeping bag, clothes, food, whatever cash I had (~$200 saved up), and was about to leave everything I've ever known. I don't know what stopped me. I think it was a call from my brother. He was never very emotional, and we didn't have that really close relationship like many of my friends had, but when he called me, something in his calm voice made me believe him when he said that all he wanted to do was to help me. He believed that I could make it, but that I needed to get past this.

That night I sat down with my parents and just broke down. I said how sorry I was, how much of a disappointment I was, the whole nine-yards. The look on their face when they were listening to me...I don't ever want to see that again. It's that look someone has when they give up. There's no spark, no connection, just...emptiness. I've never seen that from anyone, let alone my parents. It hurt. Thinking back, it hurts even more that I caused them that much pain.

That whole month changed me. I wrote up an academic plan with the school to get back in conditionally. They signed off, and I followed it. It was a bit of a rough start, with still a lot of C's, but it was something. I took summer courses, worked harder, and joined a research group. From there, it got better.

Fast forward to today and I am so much better off. Sometimes I wake up at night scared that it was all a dream, but it wasn't. I am now a senior in his last semester about to graduate. I was on the Dean's list for two of the last three semesters (one semester I wasn't since I went out-of-state for a co-op and had less then the required number of credits). I pulled my ass out of the ground to get to where I am, but I don't know if that's enough. The only problem now is the anxiety that comes from waiting to hear back from jobs and graduate schools. The mistakes of my past coming back to haunt me, I guess.

So yeah. I grew the fuck up after freshman year.

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