Lessons in Gripping details my freshman year at Eastern Mennonite University. It was an opportunity I’d worked so hard to achieve, yet I spent little or no time preparing for what would be in store. For starters, I had minimal experience with a computer, so getting used to typing all of my assignments required retraining that I stumbled through during the year. After trying to determine what was preventing me from focusing, I had another awakening calling on me to forgive those who had betrayed me throughout life, so I could stem the overwhelming anger that was still consuming me. Once I did, the world opened up to me on a grand scale and would continue to do so throughout my collegiate journey.
My unguided years leading up to college were evident throughout Lessons in Gripping. While I was a decent human being by that point, I didn’t have the life skills necessary to make it on my own. A father figure or a sense of a stable home life would’ve been most helpful in my case. My inability to understand issues such as money and consequences would come back to haunt me later in the year.
Regardless of how much difficulty I faced, there was never any doubt that graduating from college was my only opportunity to succeed in life. When writing this chapter, the old saying, “Grab life by the horns” came to mind, but no one taught me exactly what that would entail as a young man experiencing his first taste of independence. As a result, learning-by-mistake was the theme for that year. There are hard lessons throughout the chapter, and it offers a cautionary tale for young adults venturing into college.
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