Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What Happened to the "And Don't Come Back!" Letter?

I’ve been going through some of my mother’s files. She has what looks like three basic files; one for me, one for my brother, and one for the rest of the world. There were newspapers noting the end of WWII in Europe and the Pacific.
Like most good mothers she’s kept everything from 2nd grade drawings to every picture of me that was ever in the newspaper. There are poems, invitations, announcements and comments on bits of paper.

I found a letter of acceptance from East Carolina University, a rejection letter from the early admissions program at UNC-Chapel Hill and then, the acceptance letter from Carolina.

What I didn’t find were the three letters from UNC-CH explaining that they’d rather I not come back due to my…ahem…lack of academic progress.

I was kinda hoping to find at least one of the we’ve kicked your tail out of school because you’re stupid letters. I wanted to frame it between my undergraduate acceptance letter and the one I received last year appointing me to the adjunct faculty of the nationally-ranked executive masters program at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health; irony in a frame.

As I get older I believe that if you don’t have at least a few dark times in your life you haven’t been trying hard enough; either to have fun or to accomplish something. I’ve done both.

If you've experienced a bump or two in life ask yourself, “How did that bump get me further down the road to where I want to go?” You should have a good answer. If you don’t have a good answer you can still use that time as a motivator simply by asking what you learned and have you applied your hard-won knowledge.

Stop right now and look back. Where have you run into obstacles? How can you use what you learned to boost you to a better future?

I’m going to find one of those letters even if I have to write one of my own. It’ll essentially start, “Dear James Michael Collins, We’re stunned at how bad your grades are. We’re sure your parents are, too. We’re wondering why you aren’t.”


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