Maintainer Nation

  3 min read

That Time I Dropped Out

If you asked a room full of people, "Who loves failing?" Silence would probably ensue. Quitting, failing, or not starting are some of the most uncomfortable topics for anyone ever.

That Time I Dropped Out

If you asked a room full of people, "Who loves failing?" Silence would probably ensue. Quitting, failing, or not starting are some of the most uncomfortable topics for anyone ever.

We all have goals we try to achieve in order to propel our lives towards fulfillment and happiness. We all want to move forward or at the very least we want to maintain. However, sometimes those goals we clutch to so tightly don't actually serve us in the way we originally believed. Ever been in the middle of working "the plan", "the goal", "the dream"; only to find out what you had in mind isn't what you thought?

Aviation Studies

What happened?

You had a moment of clarity and saw another way. You may have even seen an entirely other goal. You aren't wrong, and I'm here to tell you that you aren't the first one. I'm also here to say, you won't be the last.

So what do you do now? You certainly have a few options:

  • Grind it out and continue with your original goal
  • Change course in what may feel like rushing waters
  • Create a hybrid plan
  • Take some personal time to figure out the best route

I can't give you exact advice on what to do, but I can tell you my personal experience of that time I quit and dropped out of college. Believe you me, I felt like a failure...

...For about a whole 5 minutes.

I had no guidance and no mentors. The concern about finishing the rigorous testing requirements to become an aircraft mechanic was very real. At the time I was going to school to help prepare me for the tests because all of my experience was in naval aviation maintenance. Unfortunately for me that was not a test category.

Basically, I had gone out on a limb betting on myself and the drive I had to finish. You can imagine the embers of worry, despite the fact that I had already completed two of the five testing requirements before I walked out for the last time.

It was after 10 pm when I got home because I was attending night school, but I knew I needed a plan before I laid my head down for rest. I couldn't stand the idea of waking up and having no road in front of me and too much energy to worry about getting there.

A plan started forming in my brain. I decided to finish the last written exam by studying on my own, like I had been doing while I was attending class, and see if I could find help studying for the oral and practical exams that everyone struggles the most on.

Thankfully, in this day and age, we have this wildly vast electronic library called the Internet. It's fabulous because it holds the world's information and is readily accessible. I poked at that until an answer fell out. The answer was a phone number.

Fast forward to completing the last written exam, which placed me at three of five testing requirements knocked out. I'm ready and armed with that phone number. I'm giddy. I call. A receptionist answers and after some information and setting up of my oral and practical exams she leads me to an exam prep course that will help me fill in some gaps and jog my memory.

That exam prep course really ironed out any irregularities in my aviation maintenance knowledge and set me up to succeed. If I didn't know the answer, I knew where to look. The energy and focus I placed into my daily studies outside of the classroom was the larger portion of why I was so successful. In the end I was able to get my license the weekend after I attended that prep course.

The best part of it all? I received my license 10 months before I would have graduated! Add in the time to actually get my license after graduation, at minimum, would have been a year out.

What can you take away from this?

  • It's okay to change where you're rowing the boat.
  • It's okay to change how you're rowing the boat.
  • It's okay to ditch the boat and dive in.

The ocean is absolutely vast and so are the opportunities if you place some faith in yourself and your gut. Plans don't always pan out the way we imagine, but I've found if you allow yourself to become adaptable the rewards out there in the world are endless.

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