Thursday, May 14, 2009

Accomplishments and Grace

I'm at my university as the result of a generous merit scholarship. To retain it year to year, I have to maintain a certain cumulative grade point average. However, in the fall of my freshman year of college, I sustained a severe concussion that resulted in my GPA for that year being severely lower than it would have been had I not been concussed. I lost the scholarship, but appealed on medical grounds and got it back with the understanding that I had to get my GPA back up to where it needed to be.
That pressure has driven the level of work I have put in all year. I've focused almost to a fault on making my academics as strong as possible, putting in endless hours of work (although still trying to keep a balance in my life between work and recreation, something that has become very important to me over the years). I had a strong first semester, but redoubled my efforts second semester to raise the bar even more (and strategically choosing courses that I knew I'd be strong in). As a result of this, I just found out that I not only met my goal, I blew it out of the water...and I am beyond exhilarated. I've been on a high for the last two days, celebrating with anybody who will listen and appreciate my situation.
It means a lot to me to finally be able to return to my university on my own terms. I appreciated the grace I was given last year with the appeal, but I took it as an invitation to prove myself. There was never an assurance that, were I to appeal again, I would again win my way back. Plus, my confidence took a beating as a result of the grades drop. I was a strong student in high school, and hitting college and having my grades plummet was discouraging. It's encouraging now to know that I'm still capable of pulling the kind of marks that I used to, even though I'm now in a different, more challenging academic setting.
The whole situation almost a lesson in spiritual grace. Although I know I could never be worthy of God's grace to me, I still try to work hard to reflect that I know the honor that I've been given. I don't think it's ever really possible to be truly worthy of any kind of grace. It's a concept that is beyond human comprehension, no matter how big or small. But we can try, once grace has been given-- we can strive to become people who honor what they've been given by trying to be the best that they can be. Working hard may not get you everything-- but I've come to realize that it will get you a long way. After that, you just have to be grateful for whatever comes your way.
And I am-- to God and to my wonderful friends and family who supported me at every turn-- who listened to me stress out and watched me pace the floor, who celebrated every little victory and now this big one, and who empathized and helped me. I couldn't have pulled this off alone, and half the great feelings that come from this accomplishment come from knowing I'll get to go back to my university free and clear, and spend more time with the wonderful group of people I have come to know and love so well.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Congratulations, Carolyn! :)