Monday, October 24, 2011

Is your college car clean?

I don’t know about you – but I have an old car. My car is 13 years old. The color is faded, some of the paint is scratched off on the side, one of the lights is slightly cracked, and to open the window I have to lift the entire right console piece to find the button because it has come unattached.

But my car still runs beautifully. It has great A/C (a must in FL). And it gets me where I need to go. And the longer I keep it the longer I can put off car payments.

But sometimes, having an old car, I don’t always feel a lot of pride in it’s easy to let it get messy – very messy.

Recently an assortment of trash and randomness piled up in my car so bad that a car that could seat 4 could barely seat 1.

I put it off for a while but then it was finally time to clean my car. The mess was making me feel stressed everyday and whenever I made a turn the things I did need for that day (e.g. my purse, lunch, water) would shift and slide and spill everywhere.

So I got a large black trash bag and went to work. Thirty minutes later I had an empty car and it felt good – really good. I felt a little pride in my car.

And you know what I did next? I drove it over to the car wash and had it washed and had the inside vacuumed and detailed. My car was beautiful.

And then I had an epiphany.

I would love a new car, sure. The car I have now isn’t my favorite. I actually didn’t even choose it – it was my husband’s old car that he gave to me when my car previous car died a smoky death on the 417.

But I realized my lack of love and choice in this car had allowed me to let it get completely trashed. I had allowed me attitude to take over my car and literally buried myself in trash that made it difficult to drive peacefully.

How can I ever expect to get a new car if I can’t even be thankful and take great care of the car I do have? I’ll just develop bad habits and when I do get a new car begin to trash that too.

And then I thought about you. And college. How many of you feel like community college was chosen for you? How many of you feel like your dreams died a smoky death on a highway and that community college was the only option that you could afford?

Are you letting any negative thoughts trash your current college experience? Are you just going to class and going home as you wait for your “real” college experience to start when you transfer? Are you carelessly spending this time in community college because it just really isn’t that exciting? Do you not feel like your college experience is worth bragging about; do you not feel like driving it down the beach with the windows open?

It’s time to clean out your car.

Remind yourself like I do that while my car might not always be the nicest, there are so many who don’t even have a car. There are so many people in this world who do not have access to an education.

I also think about how nice it is not to have car payments. If you are in community college you are saving so much money and still are setting yourself up for a Mercedes-Benz of an education.

And finally, if you are not making the most of your community college experience how in the world can you expect to have a great transfer experience or even a great job? You doom yourself from the beginning if you halfheartedly approach your community college vehicle.

Because community college will take you places you could never dream. It can launch you to Harvard, it can launch you to your dream job, it can launch you to wealth, it can launch you to finding a job that allows you to contribute to the world, feel fulfilled, and support your family.

But community college doesn’t automatically do those things for you. It is a vehicle. You have to get in the front seat. You have to drive. And you have to take advantage of everything it has to offer.

Yet sadly many community college students just don’t believe they’re worthy of great success. I know because I didn’t think I was worthy either. It took incredible people in my life and in my community college to not only tell me I could be more – but to expect it.

I expect you to be more.  I expect you to rise above average. I expect you to take advantage of every moment of your community college experience. Clean out the trash of your negative thoughts. Vacuum up knowledge. And pay attention to the detail (e.g. join honors program, join PTK, lead a club, go on a leadership retreat, study abroad, visit the career center, attend every class, go to tutoring center, meet new people, get to know your professors).

Wherever you are in life – whether in college or even if you’re one of my post-grad readers who are in a job you just don’t like – make the most out of it.

Even if it’s cracked and faded in certain places shine it up as best you can and wear it proudly. Because no matter where you are in life there is a lot to be thankful for. And you are worthy of a clean car, an amazing college experience, and an incredible job.

You’d be surprised at the power you have to change your life with a simple change of attitude and a black trash bag.

Once your car is clean – drive far and fast and proudly.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Whether the debate is college vs CC, or bricks-and-mortar vs online, the truth to all education is simple: you get out of it what you put into it.


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