Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Somebody Needs to Help Me

An incident occurred today -- one moment that will be very minor when I look back at my life, but felt major in the moment -- that took my mind hurtling back about 25 years. I was nearing graduation from college and, in fact, after reviewing my credits and things, thought I was ready to get my cap and gown.  

However, I had forgotten momentarily that my college was known by its initials, UCF, to be the place where "U Can't Finish." Even though I had begun the summer immediately after high school graduation, and taken classes consistently, even in the summers, somehow I was missing 1 credit. What? My adviser literally cursed me for being "self-advised."

I had met with my college adviser in 1985 when I was first choosing classes, learning where buildings were located, and fumbling with understanding credit hours. But, after that I thought that you should be able to take the college catalog and a list of the requirements for graduation and figure them out on your own. I was not raised to rely on others when I could (or should be able to) figure things out on my own. I made lists and checked off what I needed. UCF didn't make it easy. Especially back then, they were more of a "commuter school" and had a much smaller campus, so the course offerings did not come regularly or often. There was much joy and celebration if you actually got all the classes you wanted to sign up for.

So, after four and a half years and an almost complete college education, you'd think that an adult, over 21 years old for sure -- someone who is legally allowed to drink, smoke, and drive -- could work out the details. Apparently not. Out of the goodness of her heart, she let me help with some research she was doing and counted that as the credit I needed. I still have no idea what I researched or whether it was really helpful to her. But, that is what we did. And I graduated, with no cap or gown, at the end of the summer AFTER what should have been my graduating year.

Because I was "self-advised," she said.  

I've always wondered, why would they make it so complicated that you couldn't figure it out on your own? Does it make "them" feel somehow superior? Does it increase their likelihood of you spending more money? (Probably.) But, those are questions I can't really answer.

Today, the memory made me sad to think, how many more times have I fallen into this trap? How many more times have situations been bigger than I thought or harder than they needed to be? But, I walked into them because I was "self-advised."  

The Bible has remedies for me and other self-advisers. That is, if we can make ourselves look.

For by wise counsel you will wage your own war,
And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.

Proverbs 24:6

Listen to counsel and receive instruction,
That you may be wise in your latter days.

Proverbs 19:20

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, 
who gives generously to all without reproach, 
and it will be given him.
James 1:5