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Take Your Own Path

It’s that time of year again, when students everywhere don their caps, gowns, and tassels at a ceremony that transitions them from college life to the real world. This past Wednesday was the cap and gown convocation at Rhode Island College and I witnessed many proud seniors walking around in delight as they were one step closer to receiving their degrees. While I congratulate everyone on their accomplishment I did feel slightly left out as I am not graduating this May with everyone else.

Note: If you want to skip the story and go straight to the point, ignore the following three paragraphs.

After graduating High School in 2005, I had every intention of continuing on to the next level of education, just not right away. Like many young adults, I had no clear idea on what I wanted to do with my life. I threw around the idea of graphic design at Gibbs College, but that was quickly dismissed. I already felt the urge to go into management, or some form of general business, but I was not ready to attend college; so I didn’t. All I knew was that I wanted my ideas to be part of something bigger than me. I took a year off from school altogether and continued to work while many people said I would lose any motivation to go to college; these folks underestimated me.

Ultimately, I applied to one college the following year, Rhode Island College, and was accepted. I decided to get a B.S. in Management (which later turned into Operations Management), and essentially, what did I accomplish by waiting? I could have attended RIC immediately after High School and at least got some of my general education classes out of the way; this is a concept I don’t think I quite understood at the time. I ended up going to the same college I more than likely would have attended had I applied a year prior, and striving for the same degree at that. Had I been on the same educational path as most of my High School peers, I would have graduated in May of 2008, so why am I bringing this up now?

It didn’t really bother me that I would be “a year behind” my high school class. However, it’s more than that. I decided to add a second major, Marketing, and this added another semester to my college career. While it’s only one extra semester, it may not have been extra had I added the Marketing major sooner and packed my earlier semesters tighter. I could go the other way with this one though, I have had multiple 5 and 6-class semesters, on top of summer classes, that have allowed me to only need one extra semester.

My point is this…it’s natural to question your decisions in life. It’s very easy for me to say “Damn, I could have been done with college a year ago!” While that may have been nice, how do I know my life would have been any better up to this point? I don’t. Thinking about the “what if’s” and “shoulda coulda woulda’s” doesn’t get you anywhere and is just a waste of time. Don’t get me wrong, thinking about the future in these terms can be fun and great for setting goals, but don’t waste your time regretting anything.

You are you, and you are where you are for a reason. Had I not taken the path I am on now, I may not have had all the opportunities and success I have seen thus far. I don’t know what I’d be doing right now had I graduated in 2008, but I also don’t care. The decisions that led me here were already made and I cannot change that, so why bother thinking about it?

Invest your time, thoughts and efforts into what you can control; and that excludes the past.

Bryan Ricard Life Lessons , , ,

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