Just released from high school I was very excited about going to college and breaking away from my parents and their rules. I wanted to go to a college away from Albuquerque. So I enrolled at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. And on a cloudy day in August of 2007 I packed up my car and, with two good friends of mine who were also starting school there, headed down I-25 to our new, free lives. By the time we arrived at Las Cruces the clouds where gone as if to symbolize our joy of entering our new world of independence. The first thing we did at the university was to move into the dorm rooms. After that we had nothing to do but wait, not too sure of what to do next. But in just a little while the dorms were going to go though a great transformation and be able to entertain us for an entire semester.
Now I need to explain the setup of Garcia Hall at NMSU. The dorms are three floors high and surround a massive outdoor courtyard. Which creates an environment where everyone is connected by that courtyard.
When night fell that first day that courtyard turned from a peaceful outdoor scene into something resembling Tortuga from the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Everyone was running around and yelling, people were swinging from the balcony three floors up, and beer cans were everywhere. It was complete chaos.
This story is the best way to describe my time at New Mexico State. Down there I was too busy partying, drinking, and carrying on to be concerned with going to class and taking finals. My GPA that semester of a 1.2 shows just how little work I did.
I believe in learning from my mistakes, and my time at State was a turning point in my life. After that semester I have not had a drink. You will now have a better chance finding me in a library, then at a frat party. I have learned from my mistakes at State and now, since transferring to the University of New Mexico, I have a GPA of 3.16!
Mistakes are too easy to make especially when young, but the brand that society puts on a person for making those mistakes is almost impossible to remove. Making it impossible to screw up and still be successful.
In school, a student should not be afraid of failing at something because of the retribution a grade inflicts on them. Failure is exactly how people learn. They have to mess up before they can get it right. The problem with schools is their grades. The grading system discourages risk taking because of its severe punishment of a single mistake. For example: if a person fails on a paper or a test their grade will drop greater than it would rise if that same person aced that same paper or that same test. And that scares students away from trying anything new, which doesn’t allow for personal growth. Instead they sometimes resort to cheating and take the easy way out.
I have a good friend who was taking a Spanish class last semester. She had a big speech coming up. Instead of doing it herself where she might make a mistake and been able to learn from it, she had her uncle (who speaks perfect Spanish) write it for her. Then all she had to do is memorize it. Rather than risk a mistake, she took the easy way out. And now I bet if someone asked her to give that speech today she would not be able to.
Mistakes are good because they allow a person to learn and to grow. I am not afraid to make a mistake anymore. Instead I have decided to learn from my mistakes, both the ones in the past and the ones that I am still making. I’m not saying we need to be more lenient with people who mess up. I just hope we, as a community, could be more understanding and realize that no one is perfect, and that when a person makes a mistake they need to be given a second chance. And more than likely they will not mess up again.
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