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What's Your Story: Victoria College helped student gain confidence

By BY ALEX SHU
May 29, 2013 at 12:29 a.m.

Alex Shu

Because Victoria College is a community college, it does not get enough credit whenever it is compared to other schools. People fail to realize that VC is much more than just a "community college." Symbolically, it has been a catalyst to my progression and maturation in life, as the campus, faculty and students have come together as one to make it a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Not only has VC changed my life, it has also changed my everyday mindset, allowing me to overcome my greatest fears.

I was the proverbial "big fish in the small pond" of Victoria and was originally accepted into the Red McCombs Business School at University of Texas at Austin. However, in my brief time there, I was given a cold dose of reality as I quickly realized how prestigious the school was, how studious my peers were and how vast the ocean was that I was actually in.

This rude awakening planted the seeds of my two biggest fears - the first being the possibility of failure in any endeavor I choose to embark upon, and stemming off that, facing judgment from the people around me if and when I failed. These two fears fed off one another as I quickly lost sight of not only my ambitions but also of myself as well - I failed to remain true to myself.

Since coming to VC, I've realized that my delusional self-image, thinking patterns and demeanors that I used to carry myself around with were the main contributing factors to my fears. I had a false sense of confidence that was shrouded in both arrogance and ignorance, which led me to believe that I was better and more special and unique than everyone else around me. I constantly conjured up justifications for my own irresponsible failures in both academia and life. I would lie to myself, saying the failures were the result of me "never even trying to begin with." I soon took my education for granted, treating it more as an obligation than an opportunity.

As I floated around Austin, taking random courses with no apparent goal in mind, life soon became dull, unsatisfying and meaningless. These feelings I experienced at that moment in time resonated loudly within me, igniting the spark of desire to change for the better.

The VC faculty, staff and its students have been extremely accepting, encouraging and supportive, despite my troubled past riddled with personal struggles. Their consistently unprejudiced behavior of treating me as an equal has granted me something more than I could ever think to ask for - insight on the true dynamics in human relationships.

Through my VC experience, the truth finally dawned on me: If I consciously stop judging other people, my own fear of being judged by the same people will gradually fade away, and I will be able to focus on discovering who I am and what I am capable of.

As a result of focusing on myself and disregarding even the slightest remote thought of being judged in a nonjudgmental environment, I am beginning to see the fruits of my new mindset. My striving for a realistic and achievable goal now has a new driving force behind it. Instead of making choices with the intention of proving to others that I'm worthy, the hard work is for the sake of me proving to myself that I am capable.

Throughout this semester, I have had to let go of my pride to accept the fact that I'm the same as everyone else - no better, no worse. We are all here to learn, which is an opportunity and a privilege that should not be wasted. I cannot thank VC and its affiliates enough for shedding light on the invalidation of my fears, helping me achieve this refreshing new way of thinking and teaching me a lesson in humility.

All in all, VC initiated the chain of events that have allowed me to discover who I am as a person, and more importantly, who I am as a VC Pirate.

I am proud to be enrolled at VC, and I cannot help feeling hopeful and excited to see what the future has in store for me.

Alex Shu lives in Victoria and is studying process technology.

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