The most important thing I know about overcoming struggles and troubles is that it does not matter how hard or far you fall, what matters is that you rise up and keep moving -some days all it takes is to put one foot in front of the other – persist, persist, persist! More complete story: In my first year at the college, I was delivering remarks at a student reception. I noted to them how complex the lives are of our adult learners and that in many ways, it is like dancing on the head of a pin trying to balance, work, children, family and the pursuit of their education – and how easy it might be for them to fall off of that pin and give up, drop out and decide it is too much to handle. I went on with my speech sharing some personal stories and then ended with a version of what I have included in the quote below. My point was to tell them just never stop, just keep pushing forward and that we were there to help them do so.
At the end of the reception, a male undergrad student (most of our undergrads are female) came to speak with me and said that he started not to attend the event – he was busy and tired and had decided that it was just too much for him to manage and he was thinking about dropping out until he could get his life in order. He shared that my remarks had changed his mind and that he was going to try to keep going. I referred him to one of our offices to speak to someone and to get some support. I lost track of him until a year later on commencement day when I stood on the stage to shake hands with each of the 600 students who cross the stage. I turned, waiting for the next student and realized it was him coming towards me. He did a little dance movement as he came towards me, and by this time I was weepy, he hugged me, he too was weepy, and whispered “I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and here I am!”