After high school I took some real shit jobs, doing maintenance work and scrapping junk until I joined the field crew for a surveyor. I did that for 4 years full time before deciding I wanted to go to college. Now this was a major step. Up to this point I thought I was some fuckin retard who couldn't remember to brush his teeth without a sticky note on the mirror (That had to be refreshed periodically or else the note just blended into the background). So I decided to go and get a surveying degree. I found a community college in my area that had a program. To enter they ask that you take a simple proficiency exam to see what level for each subject you were prepared to take and if you needed any prep courses. I was nervous and broke out the old GED books to refresh myself. I did really really well on this test. Again, not the most impressive thing in the world, but I think if I had done poorly on that test I may have just given up altogether as it would have just confirmed my belief that I was not very good when it came to school.
I did very well in the community college. I ended up tutoring the other guys in my program for food. They would buy me food and I would break things down for them to understand. My experience in the field made the schooling much much easier. But there was still lots of home work and projects, which I found myself completing this time around. Something was different, I was finding a confidence in my abilities I didn't have before and I understood why I was in school. It was to help me get licensed, and it was also costing me money. So I showed up on time (barely) every day and managed to complete 100% of the work. Although a lot of the work came down to the wire. So by normal standards I was barely making deadlines; by my standards I was doing infinitely better.
The two year program came to a close and I ended up transferring to a state university to acquire a Bachelors in my field. It wasn't ivy league, but it still required more attention and focus than I had experienced up to that point. However I had an amazing community college professor and I seriously rank his instruction and program higher than what I experienced at the university level. Anyways, going form a school of 1200 to 12,000 was an interesting shift. Deadlines were still tight, but I ended up transferring with a good friend I made at the community college. This helped immensely as I had a default study partner. Having someone that relies on me to help get something done is a massive motivator. I hate letting people down. Also, by this point I was getting pretty good at dissecting a course and figuring out exactly what was required to get an A. It's amazing how much fluff can be ignored.
I ended up joining a couple of organizations and clubs and participated in some student competitions for surveying at the national level both years I was there. We didn't even place the first year (which I thought was BS
) and took 2nd place the second year. Those projects forced me to really kick some habits with procrastination, but it seems like no matter how much time you give to something like that, there is ALWAYS last minute crap to clean up.
So I kinda blazed a trail 3 of the 4 semesters I was there, but that last semester I ended up slacking off. I know I could have done better, but some old tendencies crept up again. Some call it senioritis. All I know is that I could have easily aced one class I got a C in if I had held myself to it. It was just a lot of basic assignments in a low level course I was doing to finish a minor on my degree. And yet it was my lowest grade outside of high school. If the class had been harder, I would have done better I think.