Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Brick Wall

Since July I have been waiting to say two words.  I passed.  This evening I got an email that verified my right to say them.  I passed.  I studied for months. I passed.  I failed the first time, but some say failure is proof we are trying.  I passed.

I recently listened to the audio book by Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture.  What a story.  I was inspired, moved, humbled, and grateful.  Dr. Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University.  He died at the age of 47 from pancreatic cancer.  He was a brilliant computer scientist.  Before his death in 2008 he gave a last lecture.  He lectured in front of his family, students, faculty, former associates, and others.  In his last lecture he gave practical advice.  The book chronicled things he wanted his kids to remember about him, and important things he wanted to be able to teach them through his words, long after he had left this earth.  He spoke about the love he had for his wife, how they met, and what kind of husband he hoped he'd been to her.  It was simple, but profound.  In the lecture he spoke about brick walls.  This part made my ears perk up.  

I had studied for months for the teacher licensure exam in the state of Virginia.  I had spent months recalling information that had been long-since been forgotten since I college graduation.  Over the summer my pool bag didn't hold its regular fun items like diving sticks and extra goggles.  Instead it held flashcards, lists of literary terms, writings on Shakespeare and iambic pentameter, textbooks on grammar, etc....really exciting stuff.  I took the exam in late July.  I waited the agonizing 10-15 business day window only to find out I did not pass.  I was crushed.  I hit the brick wall.  Hard.  

The brick wall was keeping me from what I wanted--a career in teaching.  The brick wall was telling me crazy things like "you aren't smart enough," "you can't pass this," and "move on."  I didn't want to listen to the brick wall, but I felt defeated.  I questioned my abilities.  I let some time pass.  

In September I was ready to dust off the books again.  I made new lists.  I made more flashcards.  I watched YouTube videos on Shakespeare and sentence structure.  I moved material from the back burner to the front burner and put that sucker on high heat.  
I took the exam again in mid-November.  Just a couple hours ago I got the email I've been waiting for.  The brick wall isn't there to keep me out.  What I heard from Dr. Pausch about his own life, pertains to mine.  The quote is below.

Not passing the first time was a brick wall, but it wasn't meant to keep me out as I had originally believed.  It was to show me how badly I really wanted to pass.

So, take that brick wall!

Thanks for reading.

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