Handle Second Chances with The ‘New Me’ Project

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F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “Strength shows, not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over.”
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As humans, we make mistakes. We can be proponents of pain and suffering, but we also have the capacity to instill hope and incite joy. The desire for a second chance, for a way to correct a wrongdoing is something that every person has felt.

Expectations come with the label of college student. Society reasons away our mistakes as us being young and free. I’m glad that we are granted that learning curve, but the strain of our college experience is often what makes most of us do the stupid things.

I don’t even want to count how many conversations I’ve had with friends about my own idiotic behavior. These conversations basically go like this:

Friend: Did you do the thing?
Me: I did the thing.
Friend: Stop acting like a peasant.
Me: Okay.

In college, everything seems stacked against you. Every little aspect of your behavior is judged here and if you ever want a career, you shouldn’t make mistakes. It blows my mind that they expect a bunch of 18-year-olds to come to this big, scary (and expensive) place and know what they want to do for the next 80 years. I don’t even know what I want for breakfast most days!

It’s a bunch of…(I’m going to stop myself here, because I’ll get in trouble and I’ll have to have that peasant conversation with my friends again).

This idea that college is a new beginning has been a draw for young people. High school was like an episode of “Degrassi” every week and we all wanted an upgrade from unnecessary drama. Mainstream media romanticizes this idea of a place where we make our own decisions and we can start our personal stories over.

No one mentions that new beginnings come with a lot of responsibility and very little assistance. It’s a heavy burden to try and change yourself, but with the right mindset — anything is possible.

Actress Tia Mowry said, “Having a second chance makes you want to work even harder.”

We get to start all over again, to reset the clock on regrets from years past and make the future into an empty canvas for dreams desired but never realized.

It’s nice to have the opportunity to do something differently. All of the resolutions we write down and the sparse number that we actually uphold. Second chances are driven by redemption, but they’re also inspired by hope.

We hope that all this work we do will account for something later on. We hope that our frustrations during finals week will amount to an “A.” We hope that we can redeem ourselves from a terrible semester GPA. We hope that those spring break pictures won’t be seen by our employers.

In our world, second chances account for a huge part of our lives, but more often than not, we take them for granted. It amazes me how quickly a second chance can become a third, a fourth, a fifth — or a number of what we assume to be infinite restarts. No one likes to recognize that there are a finite number of chances we get to start over again. We may get alternative opportunities, but we don’t get another life. Life isn’t a Nintendo game console. We can’t always blow it and get it to work for us again later.

The four years that students have in university are rife with mistakes, and that’s okay. Make all of the facepalm moments into a learning experience. You’re supposed to grow and mature here.

College is a fun, exasperating and confusing place. You don’t have to have it all figured out before graduation and if you hit rock bottom at some point, the next semester is your second chance. Be sure that each opportunity you get is thoroughly appreciated and taken advantage of. Remain cognizant of your time constraints. Four years passes in a blink of the eye.

“There’s nothing as exciting as a comeback — seeing someone with dreams, watching them fail, and then getting a second chance,” actress Rachel Griffiths says.

 

Reach the blogger at Stephanie.Tate@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @StephanieITA