University and college students in their teens and early twenties face some big life challenges. There are plenty of freedoms that come with being an adult student. But there are also new pressures and responsibilities. How students balance these can shape their life paths.
The first time round that I was at university, there was a certain kind of exhilaration that came with all the new freedoms. I was living away from home for the first time - with no parents to have to keep happy - and had heaps of free time to do whatever I liked.
But I also felt the pressure to prove myself at university level. Failure would be personally disappointing and also mean that I would have to grow up a lost faster than otherwise - I would have to get a full-time job for a start.
For the first year, my friends and I stuck pretty well to the routines we had followed since elementary school. You basically do what you're told in the school environment. Attend every lecture, do the assignments that you're given and follow the teacher's instructions.
Away from university, your time is yours so we just did whatever we felt like. We played sports, watched TV, and went out as much as we could within our budgets. It was fun and relaxed.
It was around second year when most people started to deviate from the pattern. We didn't know it at the time but this was when we really started to define ourselves as adults. Some of us were becoming empowered, some of us were rejecting it and some of us were abusing it.
The people abusing their personal power were basically the ones that flunked second year. They got carried away with the social side of university and forgot about the need to study hard. Usually, it was a wake call and they made up for it in third year but some left university altogether.
The people who rejected empowerment stuck to the rules and kept their heads down in the books. Although they did well in terms of grade, I felt that they were putting off - delaying - personal development. They were missing out on some fun experiences and, with it, some learnings that would help them later in life.
Other people struck a balance between academics and everything else - socialising, relationships, fitness and nutrition, budgeting, etc. I was kind of in this group (or maybe the first one) but, looking back, I wasn't nearly as empowered as I could have been. I was actually making all sorts of mistakes.
Being empowered is about using personal power in a controlled, constructive way. It's not about rebelling. It's not about doing that you like. It is about using your freedoms to do good things for yourself and others.
Anyway, I got my degree and managed to get good enough grades to return as a mature student a few years later. Things were different the second time around.
Second time round I was grown up enough to know about being an empowered student. On the academic side of things, I took a professional approach to getting good grades. If I needed to work hard in a particular area, I just did it without feeling sorry for myself. If there was an easy course or assignment, I would save time and do something else. I planned better, felt more confident and my grades went up.
Away from university, I took a long-term perspective. Spending all my spare money on nights out didn't make a lot of sense. There were also quite a few aspects of personal and professional development I needed to work on - things that I'd basically neglected until then.
Instead of just doing whatever I felt like, I kept spending under control and tried to develop myself. I read widely, tried new experiences and took on challenges in sports. By the time I got back in the workforce, I was properly equipped to pursue a meaningful career.
There will always be people in your life that are bitter and angry. Some are angry because they have given up on their dreams, some feel trapped by poor circumstances and others are simply whacked. They are suffocated by the power they allow others to place upon their lives and hate you for your perseverance. These people criticize you for positive behavior and try to make you feel guilty for doing great things. A few of these bitter people criticize you to your face, but most do it behind your back. A life worth living does not allow others to shame and guilt them into mediocrity!
I have had many people in my life attempt to shame me and make me feel guilty for trying to live an exceptional life. Most of these people operated behind my back. They attacked me by convincing others I was somehow phony and/or bad. I didn't understand what was happening for many years.
I knew people would laugh at me, I could see people like me, turn against me, I could feel the coldness of judgement, I could feel the disgusted stares of hatred, but I didn't understand why. I said these people were jealous of me. I let myself be convinced I was just wasting my time and I gave up many times.
As time passed and this same pattern continued, I began to see there was always a source! There was always one bitter person that hated my gusto and drive so much, they sabotaged it with their malicious, evil words. I was oblivious to this, because being exposed to negativity, over a long period of time, made me think I was worthless. I couldn't see beyond the false image created by another person.
People would doubt me because evil was planted in their minds by bitter people. The ignorance of these happenings caused me to be controlled by another person's hate for me. It also allowed me to be controlled by my own insecurities. I would try to please others and I felt so rejected when they wouldn't extend acceptance. Now I see, I was working against an image created by a bitter person. An image that was not real, but somehow I submitted to it. This is not and was not a life worth living!
Confronting bitter people is not always easy, but necessary to have a life worth living. This is one of the simple keys to living an Empowered life. Here are some ways for you to deal with bitter people:
Remove them from your life all together! If you have the ability to not speak to people who sabotage you do it! Allowing your life to be contaminated is just wrong. You are amazing and the sooner you remove bitter people, the sooner you will see it for yourself!
Build Your Confidence! Fill your life with information that affirms the greatness in you! Listening to negative people brings you down. Being around others that intentionally come against you steals your positive thoughts about yourself. It is important to not only take self confidence building information in, but believe it to be true. You are an amazing person and you are capable of doing exceptional things!
Don't Live Down to Bad Expectations. God created you in His image and living down to others expectations gives others undeserved power in your life. Why should any man have the power to design your life. God made you and He made you great!
Never Give Up on Your Dreams! Your dreams are precious! Protect them, believe in them and allow them to fuel your personal success! As Justin Bieber says "Never Say Never!"
I began to write about a different subject, but my heart is lingering in a different place. I have found myself once again the victim of unwanted bullying and it hurts!
Yes, I am an Empowered woman, a strong woman and a woman that won't quit, yet I find myself weakened by the onslaught of whispers, looks, laughter and jeers.
I find it difficult to get close to people that may or may not be aware of what is happening. You see my bully quickly befriends them and fills their head with poisonous lies. I find myself evaluating if getting close and then having them turn away from me suddenly is worth the trouble.
I know that I am not the only person who is suffering from the woes of adult bullying. I hope that my words and admission give you courage and strength. You are not alone and either am I!
I have considered speaking to people in authority, but the reality is I may be perceived as the trouble maker. I may not be taken seriously or they my choose to sweep my concerns under the rug. I am not willing to risk another negative outcome at this point.
Confronting my bully is a waste of time. They know what they are doing and find pleasure in my pain. I am not willing to risk more ridicule and lies at this point.
The truth is I feel helpless and I feel like I have no one and no where to turn. I have been chronically bullied on and off over the years. Frankly I am tired and just want to quit! I do not want to be in this situation. I do not want to be subjected to this shame for a year, but my current location is a part of my long term goal.
I hate to let others ruin this for me, but I am spent! The hateful evilness I have endured over the years has wore me down.
At this point I will continue on my journey. It hurts like hell and I even shed tears. The road ahead may be rocky and even inflict emotional and mental wounds that will take years to heal. Be that as it may, I value the education I am getting and will endure the shit to reach my goal.
This isn't anything that me, God and Oprah can't handle (said with an honest smile).
I will keep you updated along the way. If you are experiencing bullying, you are not alone! Pull yourself together, cry if you must but do not quit or give up on you!