Do you guys remember Pippa? Pippa and I are alike in many ways, and one of those ways was our utter academic failure. Pippa used to stand over bridges, and I was never brave enough to write why. The truth is that sometimes you spend your whole life building up a personality (straight A student, smart, etc) only to find out that isn't who you are at all, and you can't bear to let the world see your true face. Eventually you forget yourself.
When I tell people the truth now, that I did badly in school or that I have a low GPA, they tend to think I'm joking or underselling myself, because in high school I was a straight A student. Sometimes I let them think what they will, and other times I correct their misconception, only to be met with disbelief.
This year, my dad convinced me to apply to grad schools. He reminded me that my life wasn't over just because I fucked up my undergrad years, and I wanted to believe him. Some years back, I had asked my adviser if she thought I'd be able to get into grad schools with my GPA, and she laughed me out of the room. Needless to say, I was scared to let anyone look at my transcripts. I thought they would laugh at me for having the gall to apply to their programs with so many "F" scores. Nevertheless, I studied hard for the GRE, wrote my heart out in my statement of purpose, and then hoped for the best [while expecting the worst].
But I wanted to tell you guys that I got into a good program. I actually got into several good programs. And I feel impossibly great.
Pippa used to stand over bridges, and I was never brave enough to write why. Several years back I stood on a bridge and thought about the water below, but my mother called me and told me not to do anything stupid, and my father told me my life wasn't over. I stepped away from the bridge, called my friends, and told them the truth, for the first time, about my life. I wasn't a straight A student, I wasn't particularly good at chemistry, and I had failed calculus at least five times. I wasn't going to graduate on time, or even close.
And I was honest with myself, and it was okay, and life went on.