A few weeks ago, therapist and I finally got past my feelings of inadequacy about going to an Ivy League school.
Unfortunately directly underneath all of that messy stuff, a new troubling thought lurked.
“Ok, but, I didn’t get here alone, so…”
So, what? Therapist asked me. Everyone gets help, everyone needs help, that’s not inadequacy, that’s life, my friend. She has a beautiful way of shooting holes in my theories (thank goodness).
I started to think more about the accomplishments I’ve undercut because I didn’t achieve them alone. Let me tell you, it’s a slippery slope:
I completed two years of service with the U.S. Peace Corps – BUT I needed near-constant support from volunteer friends and friends at home and medical professionals and Peruvian friends, I lost my sh** a few times, I needed help from my program directors and regional directors…
I finished a BA in Social Studies – BUT my advisor was extremely helpful and a lot of professors cut me slack, I struggled with depression, and honestly if I hadn’t had friends from home and roommates to hold me together I wouldn’t have made it…
I got in to an amazing graduate program – BUT I had references that went above and beyond, so many people proofed my essays, and the girl I observed before my interview gave me incredible interview tips…
Yeah I know, I think it’s crazy when I read it too, but it doesn’t make those thoughts less real. Those thoughts are bubbling up, reaching for escape every day.
The truth of it, the truth I am repeatedly reminding myself of, is that everyone needs help, everyone gets help eventually, and everyone still stands on their own merit. Have I been extremely privileged to have professors, mentors, supervisors, parents, and friends who are willing to do anything for me?
But that doesn’t make my accomplishments any less important or valuable. I worked my behind off getting here and it’s time to own that.
A few years ago, after years of working toward a doctorate, my father graduated as a Doctor of Education and promptly proceeded to call himself Dr. Wad. For those who don’t know him, my father is a bad mother* and has worked his fingers to the bone for everything he has. He’s had professors, mentors, supervisors, friends and probably most notably my mother, to help him along the way but none of them would take credit for his successes. He pays it back every day, writing recommendation letters and negotiating for the kids who don’t have the help he did.
Perhaps that’s the other key: give the help you’ve received back when you can. And then breathe and believe in yourself. Damn it.
Best of luck.
*That’s a weird sentence…