Remember the sacrifices you’ve made

By Tim Jones

Tim Jones (right)

When I began applying to college in high school, I was certain of two things. One, that college was going to be a terrifying and difficult road. Two, that I would ultimately fall at the end. Thankfully, I was wrong about the latter, but it came close. It came very close.

What I mean when I say fall is that I was certain that I wouldn’t succeed in the job hunt, especially with a degree in journalism. I knew if I fell at the end of the road there would be nowhere for me to turn, almost nothing I could do to get out of the situation. Loans would pile up and I would spend a massive portion of my life in debt I couldn’t pay, and sadly, this is the fate of many others before me, and many others ahead of me as well.

I eventually was able to secure a job with New England Cable News, a month before I graduated, as well as an apartment I could afford in Boston. The road has been agonizing, to say the least, and though I smile upon my fortune, founded in hard work, I frequently find myself thinking about the sacrifices made to reach this point.

We’ve all made some sort of sacrifice in order to progress, and these moments can define us and ultimately stick around in our minds. Without getting too personal, the sacrifices I’ve made have been impacting on both the mind and body. I worked full-time in addition to class and homework over these years, leaving essentially no room for a social life. It had to be done. It’s an example among many of a turning point, of a choice that had to be made.

However, where something falters, something else rises. I cultivated some truly amazing friendships and had wonderful mentors supporting me every step of the way. These are the bonds that held me together when it seemed like everything was falling apart. Professors, friends, mentors, you know who you are, and you should know I deeply appreciate everything you’ve done for me. Our time may have passed, but the impact has survived.

I suppose in the end, it all comes down to the sacrifices made. Who have I forsaken to get myself further? What have I given up because I couldn’t let it hold me back? What have I put myself through, knowing that it would make me stronger in the end? I think of these things, remembering what once was and what will never be again. I remember the many times I wanted nothing more than to give it up, to just stop fighting and to just stop caring about where I ended up. I’ve lamented over people who are no longer part of my life and I cried over mistakes I’ve made and felt bitter regret toward the person I used to be.

But the one thing driving me was desire. Deep down, I actually wanted nothing more than to succeed, to be able to tell my past self I was wrong and I made something of my life. I did, and it was borderline impossible. I have made a success story almost entirely out of parts working against me, even myself. If I didn’t get this job, I can guarantee that I would not have gotten something else, especially in time for when I graduated. And getting this job was a masterstroke of luck.

Even though I can tell myself that I finally made it, I know that there is still much more to be done. What remains is the drive to keep going and the drive to be everything I told myself I could never be. I’m not perfect, but I’ll get better and I’ll own up to my mistakes. If I fall, there’s nothing left to do but stand up. I’ll graduate soon, and that’s something I thought would never become a reality.

A month after I left the school to take on this new job, I had to return for a couple of finals. It was a cathartic experience to see some of the people I knew. There are parts of me that wish I didn’t have to leave, that I didn’t have to turn my back to move on, but it’s a choice that had to be made. That’s life.

So if there’s anything to remember, anything to take away, it’s the sacrifice you’ve made to become the person you are today. It often hurts. It often is something we don’t want to put ourselves through, but we know will work out in the end. Remember that your sacrifices mean something, to yourself, to the people around you and to your future.

So give it all you’ve got.

Tim Jones was a web production manager and assistant news editor. He can be reached at [email protected]