Yesterday, I said goodbye to my on-campus classes. Since it was the last day, the desperate-to-pass students pulled no stops with the sucking up. I received emails telling me that I’m “the best professor they’ve ever had,” and that I “changed [their] life.” They came up to me after class to thank me for being so awesome and understanding. I just smiled and thanked them.
What they don’t quite understand is that success or failure in anything is each to each individual person. Yes, I’m there to guide them through the course, and to grade them, but ultimately, each student chooses whether they pass or fail. Now, my grading system determines the extent of passing or failing, so that’s my part in the whole thing.
It’s taken me a long, long time, but I’m also learning that every day, every second is an opportunity to make a choice. We can choose to do things that make us happy and helps us reach or goals. We can make choices to avoid things that hurt us or derail us from our goals.
It’s not always easy to remember that we have a choice. We can be deterred by other people, emotions, and more. Most often, we are influenced, I think, by not believing in ourselves. Not believing that we are capable. How many of us have given up on something (ourselves) because we don’t believe in ourselves? I’m pretty sure that we’re all guilty of it at one time or another.
I’ve said this before, but it’s hard to watch someone make decisions that are leading them to failure. We can offer help, advice, but ultimately, we’re all driving our own buses, and we can’t force someone to make the “right” choice. We can’t force someone to see what they are capable of. And letting someone drive their own bus is a difficult choice, but a necessary one.