Any parent of a toddler is very familiar with the word “no.”  Sometimes it’s cute, and other times it can be aggravating– perhaps the family is going to visit relatives, and said child has decided that she doesn’t want to go into the car.  I certainly had my fair share of “nos” when I was that age!  However, saying “no” is very important: it shows independence.  By saying no, it shows that you can determine if something is valuable to you or not.

For some people, giving no as an answer is very hard to do.  They have a desire to please other people, even if it comes at their own expense.  This can even occur when they  are doing something they like to do.  For example, I like music.  I really like to play it, and even more so when it involves my primary instrument: the tuba.  However, I like many people can over commit myself from time to time.

It can also get you doing stuff your not as passionate about, even if that thing falls within the realm of your passion.  For example, marching band is something that I’m not so passionate about.  When I was in high school, if I wanted to be in band, I had to be in the marching band during the fall.  It was a huge time commitment on my end.  Besides the daily class rehearsals, there were evening rehearsals, plus Friday night football games, fundraisers, competitions, and we did a lot of travelling to places like Disneyland, Canada, San Francisco, and Phoenix.  I did it anyways, even if I didn’t always enjoy it.

Then, I after graduating high school, I decided to follow the advice of everyone around me, and off to college I went.  My first year, I wasn’t at a place I was very happy at, but I wasn’t ready to give up the college path quite yet, so I transferred.  Now, on the whole, transferring to another school, away from home has been very beneficial.  I’ve always struggled making friends due to being incredibly introverted, but getting away from the small bubble that is Fruitland, Idaho has been one of the best decisions of my life, even if Moscow, Idaho isn’t that big either.  I still benefited from being around new people, and I’ve become more open the past couple of years.  And yes, somehow I managed to get myself roped into marching once again.  Oh well, at least it’s more enjoyable than say math.

Unlike, marching band, which I now have a choice in whether I want to do it or not, I don’t have a choice when it comes to taking math– it’s part of my core requirements, and yes I completed the necessary requirements to get that portion done, but I was miserable doing it.

Typically speaking, people who are good at music are often good very good at math, as music has a ton of math built into it.  Yet there are exceptions to a lot of rules, and I’m one of those.  Math is not my forte.  I spent a lot of time in the math lab, wishing I could be anywhere else, but if I wanted to pass the class, I had to go, unless my grade was above a certain threshold (I can’t remember what it was).  Sometimes, I rushed through assignments, with the focus on just getting it done, and of course, that didn’t work out so well.  Other times, I slowed down, and tried to be as methodical as possible, working step by step to get the answer, yet I would still frequently get the wrong answer.  At some points, I thought I had a concept down, but when it came to test time, I apparently didn’t know them as well as I thought I did.  It was extremely frustrating, and I frequently left the lab in a rage.  If I was working outside of the lab, it usually resulted in me throwing objects at the wall.  Furthermore, if I don’t understand something, and/or why I’m doing it, I lose interest in doing that thing, and I spend a good portion of class time “looking for butterflies.”

At times, I’ve asked myself if I should be in college, since I can frustrated when I’m doing something I really don’t want to do, but I’m at a point where I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m spending more time doing things I like to do than not these days.

So what happens next?  By the time I graduate according to my current plan, I will have been in school for 19 years.  Now I might decide to follow my advice of all my peers and go on to graduate school, but that entails at least two more years of school, and while it’s not always that bad, it does feel quite laborious at times.  Perhaps I decide to do something else, maybe I decide to do Praxis.  Since I don’t have my life completely figured out yet (does anybody), that might be a very good option, and I would probably have an easier time making money in the long run, and I might just find something I enjoy doing as well.  Or, at least I could use it as a gap year to give myself a break.  Most importantly though, hopefully I will have relearned to say “no” by the time I get to that point.