Struggles don’t mean you can’t succeed

Angelica Cataldo, Columnist

I am sure I am not the only person who can say this spring semester has kicked my ass in more ways than one. I came out of 2017 with a new life perspective and what I thought was a firm grasp on the path I wanted go in my life. 

Of course, nothing went as planned, and I had to roll with life’s punches as they came. Nearly 10 years of Tae Kwon Do could not prepare for the metaphorical jabs and hits I was about to endure.

My first real punch came during the fall semester. Not only were tuition refunds being dispersed slowly, but Eastern also needed an arm, a leg and the name of my future first-born child in order to give mine to me. 

I wrestled with my financial aid, trying to complete every single document they wanted me to fill out and giving them more information about me, my family and my financial situation than I wanted to.   

Then it came time to pick out my last schedule for my last semester of college. I was soon going to be free of FAFSAs, exams and long, sleepless nights.

My second punch came when I thought I was on track to graduate in May with just a few classes needed to get my degree. It turned out a few classes meant a full 21-credit class schedule.

That was not what I was expecting from my last semester of college, but despite my usual pattern of cynicism, I saw this as an opportunity to challenge my will and keep myself busy and out of trouble. 

So I accepted the challenge and faced the semester head on.

After that debacle, I rang in the new year with the same “new year, new me” attitude every person has for the first week of January before returning to old habits and routines. 

I was feeling pretty positive until I took my third punch after looking at how much I owed for tuition. Twenty-one credits was not an inexpensive inconvenience, and it certainly made the beginning of my 2018 a little less cheery.

I managed to get my financial and academic situation figured out, and things started to look up. I was still in the ring, and I was not going to tap out now.

Come February, I was handling 21 credits quite well and felt like I had a pretty good handle on things. My parents were supportive, and I had a good circle of friends that kept me from losing my mind.

I felt like could finally take a breath, and I did. That was my first mistake (I promise my complaining has a point).

I got a call from my landlord saying they wanted me out of my apartment building due to much-needed maintenance on the structure. 

I hung up the phone after that conversation (and my metaphorical fourth punch) with my property manager, and my breath of relaxation turned to a long drawn out sigh. 

Being nearly 200 miles away from my family and friends and the only one of my close college friends that has a car, this move was going to be a long and hard process. 

However, I swore to myself I was going to take every punch with a grain of salt and be positive. So, again, I decided to see this move as an opportunity for a new adventure. 

This semester was my scooter to the ankle, and I have the metaphorical bumps and bruises to prove it. I am not saying my struggles this semester are comparable to anyone else’s, but I can certainly say that setting aside my usual cynicism and adopting a more positive outlook on life made getting through the bullshit a lot easier. 

The ups and downs are what shapes us as people, and for every moment that gets us down, I assure you there will be another moment to pick you back up. You may just have to seek out that moment rather than waiting for it to find you.

You should not let the negatives stop you from succeeding. Look at it like a challenge and a way for you to grow as a person.

The saying “when life hands you lemons” has never been more relatable, until now, but it has also never been truer. 

I took my hits and threw a few of my own. This semester is far from over, but like I said before, I am still in the ring and I will never take a K.O.

Angelica Cataldo is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].