Budget Life List

Save more to explore!

This site may contain affiliated links. Please see my disclosure to satisfy your curiosity.

Why did I believe I wasn’t smart enough for a Bachelor of Science degree? It was a brief thought my mind sifted through as I decluttered papers from a safe.

Similar to other areas that attract messiness when tucked away, my safe was full of clutter like old bills, statements from credit cards I didn’t have anymore, and insurance I no longer use. I gradually combed through each manila folder and added more useless paper to the shred pile.

Eventually, I stumbled across an old progress report and an unofficial transcript from high school. This was my proof that I was an average student; mostly B’s with a dash of A’s and C’s. Considering how little effort I put in school, it is a surprise that I managed any success.

It wasn’t the first time I wondered – why did I think I wasn’t smart enough for a Bachelor of Science degree?

Mindsets Matter

It’s hard to lay blame on any one reason. It could have been that I hung out with average students. It’s what I strived for after moving so much. Average was better than the new girl look I carried around.

Whatever the reason, I identified myself as – average. Normal. Typical.

Either way, when my science teacher suggested I look into a Bachelor of Science degree, I was quick to respond, “I’m not smart enough for that.”

I hope it was said half-heartedly, but it wasn’t. Ironically, I didn’t feel smart enough to handle the rigors of a science degree. Yet, at seventeen, I felt hardy enough to enlist in the military.

A Daring Change

When I enlisted, I knew that whenever I finished at four years or twenty, I was going to get a college degree. I signed the paperwork for the GI Bill and paid my dues.

After a less than enthusiastic experience with military structure and unpleasant supervisors, I decided to cut my military career to four-years. Or at least, that is what is dredge up fourteen years later.

Getting out and going straight into the workforce was similar to how I felt about joining the circus. I didn’t have the skills, let alone an idea of what I would be good at or more importantly enjoy. College felt like the kinder, gentler version of figuring out happy ever after.

After years of working in a field that brought little joy, I knew that I wanted to work somewhere fun and meaningful. This slow, persistent realization lead me to agreeing to a science degree. I had to dig deep and rally myself for the academic rigors; if I could survive the Navy, deployments, and two wars, I should have enough fortitude for a science degree. Right?

I visited a few universities in Wisconsin and settled on the one that felt right, University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. It had a small, warm campus, fun courses, and a giant library. Sure, the library looked like a prison, but it had more books than I had seen in a long time.

It felt like home.

During my orientation as I was about to confirm my major, I changed it from pharmacological to natural resources. This quick degree change was unusual since I tend to plow through big decisions with copious amounts of time and a pros versus cons list. However, this felt right like a warm embrace of my future. Plus, I would be taking a bunch of classes about plants and animals? How could I go wrong?

A Degree in Defiance

The first semester was the hardest and doubting myself constantly did little to help my nontraditional college student look. Navy success was easy, all I had to do was what people said. They used simple words and occasionally a drawing.

In college, I had to develop my own idea of success, and worse, I had to make a plan and stick to it. No supervisors to update or comrades to complain with, just one girl trying to figure if she was doing it right.

Stubbornness to use my GI Bill saved the day!

After a while, the struggle got easier and the expectations became obvious. I continued to war with other parts of the college experience but I felt like I was accomplishing the right things. At least my grades were better than average. It only took copious amounts of studying, tutors, and less than ideal snack choices.

It would take four and a half years but I achieved my Bachelor of Science degree. My endorphins and ego got an extra kick in the pants when I was nominated by my professors for the Chancellor’s Leadership Award.

As I reflect on how far I have traveled, how much I have learned, and how much ice cream I have consumed, I don’t even recognize the girl who didn’t think she could do a bachelor of science.

Is this what winning feels like? What is your experience with degrees, high education, and crushing self-confidence?

Related Posts

7 thoughts on “A Bachelor of Science: A Daring Defiance of I Can’t Even Science

  1. First off, good for you for decluttering your safe! And good for you for tackling that degree AND completing four years in the navy! Impressive! Love hearing about people’s journeys. So interesting.

    1. It is easy to share my wins but I still struggle when sharing my the losses.

      I appreciate that you joined the ride!

      Congrats on being one step closer to FIRE after selling the old RV!

  2. Good for you! I think a Roosevelt said “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right”. I was the opposite, being one of the class brainy nerds. I automatically knew that I could handle any field of study without studying hard. But I was shy and didn’t think I could ever speak publicly or act or be a leader. Until I did like you, I stepped out and took on what I had thought was impossible for me and found out it wasn’t impossible at all. I could actually act and make speeches and be entertaining and run a big company. Who knew? Doesn’t it feel great when you bust through a wall like that? Great post!

    1. Thank you, Steveark! I love Roosevelt, he had great quotes and ideas! I am glad you enjoyed the post and that it resonated so strongly. Also, big kudos to you for all your accomplishments!

  3. Congrats I wish I could’ve been there and celebrate your little and big victories with the good ol’ song of “you’ve lost the loving feeling” and some shots. I too was in the same boat as you pun intended LOL I thought I would never be able to get a degree and actually use it! Here I am in charge and responsible for priceless items in the criminal justice field. Totally ONE EIGHTY from where I thought my life was heading in high school. hehehe

    1. Hey Red Waterbird! It’s great to hear from you. It sounds like you are continuing to dream big! I’m glad your cashing in on your experience. I hope it rains riches for you, just not the ones that your protecting. 😉

Do you have words to share?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.