Day 6 of the 500 Word challenge. Tell someone else’s story.
From the outside looking in, Peter is a quiet smart college student from the suburbs. He doesn’t seem to let much bother him except when someone tries to make him share his food. Making memories has become his mantra at the insistence of his mother because she knows the pain of missing the opportunities to do so.
Peter has a strong inner circle but he doesn’t always use the strength of that inner circle to help him brain storm through his challenges. He usually waits until it’s too late to ask for help when the problem has grown past the helping stage but his last challenge proved to have more consequences than he expected.
While all of his friends received multiple scholarships to attend college, Peter only received two and they were only to his back up colleges. As if he didn’t feel bad enough, his mother reminded him at every turn how he had been told since he was old enough to talk, that he needed to get a scholarship to go to school because his parents didn’t have money to send him.
It’s like his mother couldn’t stop driving that point home over and over. Guilt, frustration and anger were just a few of his emotions that he experienced over the following months after graduation. His mother’s constant reminder became a sore spot for him so much so that it affected his first semester of being away from home or so he thought.
Adding to what seemed like a new trend of disappointment and failures, he went from being a straight A student to a C student. Peter was used to being a high achiever. He was valedictorian of his eighth grade class and almost salutatorian for high school all while participating in multiple afterschool activities. He was dependable and punctual. He served consistently at his church and volunteered at a shelter for abandoned pets.
Thankfully during this low period in Peter’s life one of his friends, Thomas, checked in on him and asked how things were going. He shared how tough his first semester was going and how he couldn’t understand it. He told him how things were so bad that he just wanted to go home and start all over. He continued to share how he has never failed this badly before at anything that he set out to do.
His friend listened intently as he shared what seemed like years of frustration and feeling overwhelmed of performing at the level that he had. Thomas told him that he was having a similar semester and that he went to his college advisor to help sort things out because he was seriously considering quitting school, too. He shared that the counselor helped him understand that this was just a growing pain for him.
Thomas told him that the last 12 years of their lives had been planned out by someone else. Their parents, teachers, counselors and mentors all had a hand in telling them where to go and when to be there with the expectation that they would follow through. He told Peter that they were now responsible for their own lives with support from that same circle of people.
Peter knew Thomas was right because his mom had just said the same thing in their weekly call. He knew that he had to get his act together so he made a plan to get back on track. He still decided to leave school but he applied to a local college closer to home and applied for scholarships like it was his masters thesis. By the time he returned to school in the fall of the following year, he had enough money to cover almost the entire school year. He worked part time jobs to pay for the rest with the help of his parents. He had a few bumps along the way but he did what was necessary to readjust and get back on track.
Peter is now the owner of his own production company that supports independent film makers. He has written, directed and starred in a few productions that have all won awards in his field. He has written several scores to a few popular movies and a few popular streaming networks shows. Peter also volunteers to work with high school students and their parents to teach them how to apply for scholarships for college. Peter decided that he would help as many families who share his story as possible. He and his parents have also begun a foundation that provides scholarships to students after their first six weeks of college or in cases of emergency funding.
Here’s to Peter finding his way back after what seemed like an impossible situation with the support of good friend.
Just another day’s journey of learning how to bounce back after failure.