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Has your life taken a curve in the road?

On every Why Not Wednesday weekly feature, I feature a new Detourist every week…When life takes an unexpected detour...

 

I’m sure your life has taken a detour here and there – we all have detours.  So learn how to share yours here!

My name is Ron and I’m a detourist.

In my family, college wasn’t a “thing”.  My parents never went and neither did either of my older brothers.  I had no intention of going, but then my senior year of high school all of my friends were talking about the colleges that they were going to go to and I didn’t want to be left behind. 

So, I worked my butt off to improve my grades only to graduate with a 2.3 grade point average (GPA). After looking into different colleges, I quickly realized that a 2.5 GPA was the bare minimum for many of the schools I wanted to go to.  So, I stayed behind a year and went to community college to raise my GPA.

After a solid year of working hard in my academics, the day had arrived where I was finally able to go to college.

Arriving on my first day, I realized I was much more interested in social activities and the opposite sex then academics.  After all, who wants to sit in a crowded lecture hall where no one knows your name and listen to a professor drone on and on about a concept you don’t fully understand? 

I sure didn’t, so I didn’t go.

It was weird because the classes in college weren’t like High School.  No one knew your name, no one cared if you passed or failed, and homework was assigned rarely. A paper here, a paper there, but a lot of the courses I was taking my freshman year focused on memorizing things as opposed to critical thinking.  I wasn’t very good at memorization.

In addition, I didn’t focus enough on my studies and there were many times when I decided to sleep or do nothing as opposed to go to the lecture hall.

This all became apparent when my first semester grades rolled in.

My GPA was a measly 2.3 and by the completion of my second semester, I found myself on academic probation. At that point, I realized that I really need to pay more attention to my grades/school and try harder.

But it didn’t matter.  As a student, I felt very lost in a crowded place and couldn’t seem to focus on the general education subjects that I was forced to take but didn’t care out. 

Fast-forward one more semester and I found myself packing my bags and heading home because I had failed out of college. I don’t remember much about the experience except I was so disgusted with myself.  Sure, I was mad because I didn’t succeed, but the biggest thing that bothered me was that I let my parents down.

In retrospect, this is probably the best thing that ever happened to me.

Even though I failed out of college, I decided I wasn’t going to quit. Sure, at the time I could have just found a job and never gotten a degree, but this was something that I wanted to do and no one was going to stop me, not even myself.

I ended up going back to the community college part-time and working full-time as a college admissions advisor.

Sure, I wasn’t getting the full college experience of being in a fraternity and partying like crazy, but I was able to grow my professional credentials while my academics continued on. 

One of the things that really got to me when I was working as an admissions advisor was how many people said their biggest regret was not getting a college degree earlier.  Those words were told to me 10-20 times per day, and I decided I needed to focus more on my schooling if I wanted to be successful professionally.

Because of this, I ended up taking the employer tuition reimbursement from the school I worked at and enrolled as a student full-time.  The school itself was a full-time online school which, at that time, was a completely new concept.

My first course started, virtually, and I realized that this education model was much better for me.  Class sizes were smaller, I could do everything from home, and my professor was always an email or phone call away.  Even though it was virtual, I felt much more connected to my professor and classmates than I ever did in a traditional lecture hall setting.

All of this was instrumental in my success today.

The detour that I created for myself wasn’t ideal at the time, but it helped me understand how hard I had to work to succeed. In addition to that, it gave me the ability to be comfortable with the idea of going to school full-time and working full-time.

After I graduated with a BSBA and a 3.2 GPA, I realized that the higher up I went in education, the easier it got because I was able to focus on subjects I was actually interested in.  So, while still working full-time, I decided to enroll myself in an MBA program and successfully graduated from that program with a 4.0 GPA. 

Now remember, this is all coming from a guy who completely failed out of a traditional college.

The irony of the story is that even though I failed out of college, I’m now an online adjunct college professor at three different schools and a successful Internet entrepreneur.

Closing this out, the biggest thing to understand is that the negatives in your life turn out to be positives if you don’t let them defeat you. During the bad times, it’s going to seem like your world is crumbling.

But if you fight through the bad times and do everything you can to succeed, you’ll end up looking back and appreciating those moments that weren’t necessarily failures, but were just a detour from your master plan.

That is why…I #LoveMyDetour

Bio: Ron Stefanski is a marketing consultant, college professor, and internet entrepreneur.  He runs a portfolio of websites that exceed 100,000 visitors each month including www.JobsForTeensHQ.com.

That is why…I #LoveMyDetour.  

Are YOU a detourist?

All of our journeys continue. So if you don’t know where you’re going yet, don’t worry. It will ONLY lead somewhere…if you keep going!  Thanks, Ron, for showing us that!

I learned that again and again…

And then after the “happy” ending to my detour…

I DETOURED again.

Our job is to find those flowers, which bloom daily, from moment to moment, if we keep our eyes open.
 

So, now it’s your turn!

Are you a Detourist?
 
Yep – you totally are!  How can you share your detour?

Safe travels, Detourists!

Watch an inspiring TEDx talk about getting through any “detour” in life! #LoveMyDetour [click to tweet]

Want a free guide to creatively coping when life doesn’t go your way?  Subscribe for an instant goodie-bag in your inbox filled with tips and tricks to help you navigate your own messy beautiful detour!

 

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