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A College Memoir: Where Has She Gone?

Lindsay Steele holds her baby, Robert.

When I started college in 2004, I was 18 years old and ready for the world. I just knew I would graduate in four years and find a good paying job, get married and start a family. Well, it’s 2017, I’m 30 and just now about to graduate. I’m not married and I have a four month old son, Robert, by my boyfriend, Mike, who now has ten kids.

The 18 year old Lindsay would’ve told you this situation is one that she would never be in. She was too smart for that. She was too ambitious for that. She was too mature for that. She was so sure of herself in every way. I miss that girl. Where has she gone? She was so determined and knew what she wanted out of life.

Now, I have no idea what I want or who I want to be. How did I get here? What do I do now? I don’t have any definite answers to these questions, but I ask them to myself daily. I catch myself thinking that if I could just go back to 2004 my life would be so different. I have and live with so many regrets that it is sometimes hard to look in the mirror.

As a freshman at Alabama State I made good grades and never missed a class. I was punctual and didn’t know the meaning of the word “quit”. This continued for another year until I got a job as a server at Ruby Tuesday. That job became my life. It was more important to me than anything. I continued to work there as I transferred to AUM. I was majoring in biology and quickly found that it was not for me. I changed my major to communications which definitely was a better fit, but my social life, my job and finding “love” quickly became more important than school. I would miss classes and eventually drop them because I was so far behind. Sometimes I was even so lazy that I would just stop going to class (without dropping it) knowing that I would make an “F”. This cycle continued until my GPA was so far gone that I was suspended from school. When I finally came back to school I was still waiting tables and well into my twenties.

A few years, three jobs and a baby later, I’m finally about to achieve a goal that has in the past only seemed like a distant dream. But what will I do with this degree I’ve wanted and worked toward for 13 years?

I’ve secretly felt like a failure for so long now that I don’t know what I’ll do next. Knowing that I will be a college graduate is a great feeling. But, that in itself isn’t enough. I want so much out of life and I know that there is more to life than the one I’ve been living.

I know I will somehow find my way and I’m so grateful for the lessons life has taught me. I may not have achieved much in the last 13 years, but I’ve learned things that no one can take from me. I’ve experienced life and made mistakes. I’ve been places (physically and mentally) that I know I don’t want to go back to.

I’m scared, but things are different now. I have a child and I want him to be proud of me. I want him to look at me the same way I look at my mother. I know I will do something great with my life because of him. I find comfort in knowing that only I control what happens in my next chapter of life. I want to make the 18 year old Lindsay proud by becoming a better version of myself. I want to never stop learning and evolving because that is the woman I’ve always envisioned myself to be.

By Lindsay Steele

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