In 2018, I started graduate school. Graduate school was something I had never imagined for myself. As a child, a teenager, and a young adult, I had never pictured myself earning my master’s degree.
For some reason, I never thought I was smart enough. During college, I found myself comparing my major and my grades to my friends. My friends majored in nursing, business, healthcare, and criminal justice. These all sound like very difficult majors – in fact, I know that they are because I was there while my friends’ studies for their classes. However, I began college as undecided, then became an education major (which is falsely stigmatized as being easy), and slowly continued to change my major a few more times until I became a psychology major.
When I look back on all of the majors that I had during college, one word comes to mind: easy. Since I believed that I had such easy majors all the time, I began to believe that I wasn’t smart. I began to believe that everyone around me was intelligent, but I wasn’t.
Even though we had gotten into the same university.
Even though you can’t compare intelligence based on one’s passions.
Even though we were in the same sorority that ensured that all members maintained a certain GPA.
It makes absolutely no sense that I would have assumed that I wasn’t as smart as my friends. However, I strongly believed this, and it impacted me all the way up to graduate school.
In August of 2018, I got ready for my first day. Class began at 5:00 PM, so naturally, I spent the entire day stressed out. Finally, though, the time had come for me to take that brave step and go to my first class
I got to campus very early and nervously began walking to my building. I wasn’t new to this school, I knew people who would be in my classes, I knew this was the field I have a passion for, and yet… I couldn’t control my negative thoughts.
You can’t do this.
You aren’t smart enough.
This is not a good idea.
What if you fail?
This isn’t the actual career path for you.
You should just go home.
All of these thoughts – and more – rushed into my mind. And I stopped. My feet stopped moving. I froze in place on that sidewalk, and for a brief moment, I almost turned around. I almost walked back to my car. I almost packed my things up. I almost let my Graduate Assistant position, that I had been blessed with, go. I had almost gone home.
Honestly, I have no clue what made me keep walking. The only answer I have is that God gave me the courage and the strength to start walking towards that building again. Without Him, I do not believe that I’d be in this field today.
And where am I today?
I am in my second year of my master’s program. I am interning at a wonderful site. I have a 4.0 GPA and I absolutely love my internship.
I have learned a few things.
First, your major doesn’t determine if someone is smarter than you. Your friend may be an engineering major while you’re a music major… so what? Why do we believe that a person’s major or career makes them smarter than others? That is false! Your major/career is simply chosen because of your passion.
Do what you love and love what you do.
Second, your mind can be your own worst enemy. All of those thoughts I had in August of 2018 were false. None of those things were true. But fear can cause our mind to go on high alert. In that moment, fight or flight kicks in. You have to choose: Will you try, or will you walk away? You cannot always believe what you think. You are so much more than what you may believe sometimes.
Rachel Hollis made such a good point that has stuck with me for months. If you had a friend who called you stupid or told you that you weren’t good enough, you probably would stop being friends with that person. So, if you wouldn’t let another human being talk about you like that, why do you allow yourself to do the same thing?
Stop believing the lie that you aren’t good enough. Stop giving into your fear. Take in a deep breath, say a prayer, and take another step.
I can do all things through Christ who strengths me.
P.S. My friends never made me feel like I wasn’t as smart as them, nor did they behave like my major was less than. This was all imagined within my own mind. My friends were always very supportive!