From Failing High School to Graduating from College: How To Find That Motivation

Bio: Mariela Echeverria is a recent graduate from George Mason University. She majored in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and a minor in Multimedia. She currently works for a commercial real estate company but is doing freelance work to build her portfolio. Mariela considers herself a fashion enthusiast, coffee addict, and an anglophile.



During your last years in high school there may be a lot pressure from your parents, peers, and teachers about going to college. A degree is important, of course, but there are so many options that you may feel overwhelmed by choosing to do something that you may end up hating.

This is how I felt during my last year of high school. I saw all of my friends receiving acceptance letters to their first choices while I didn’t even bother to submit ANY college applications. Why? Because I was afraid of making the wrong choice. I was afraid because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. My life became a mess during those last couple of months. I failed a few of my classes which meant that I would have to go to summer school—AFTER graduation. It was embarrassing for me but this was that push I needed to do better.

Enrolling into a community college was the best thing I ever did. It saved my family a lot of money and it helped me really figure out my career path. I received my associate’s degree and transferred to George Mason University where I graduated with my Bachelor’s. This was all in the span of four years.  I was able to graduate the same year as my long-time friends.

I have learned and grown so much in these last four years. It wasn’t easy but I am proud of myself for accomplishing what didn’t even cross my mind in high school.

It can be hard to find motivation after you’ve hit rock bottom. But just know that things will always get better if you want them to. Here are tips that helped me throughout the years. I hope you find them as useful as they were to me.

1. Find a mentor or role-model: it’s important to have someone you can look up to. We are each different so don’t try to copy—just use them as an inspiration. If they can do it, so can you!

2. Write your goals in a journal: Whether it’s short-term or long-term goals, write them down! Once you accomplish them check them off, highlight, whatever! You will be so proud when you look back on what you have achieved.

  1. Stay healthy and active: This was important for me. It is known that healthy people are happy people. So when you are active and taking care of yourself, you feel good in all aspects of your life.

4. Become involved in extracurricular activities: Joining clubs and organizations are the best way to meet friends. It is a great way to get motivation because you get to have conversations, do activities, and learn with a group a people who share similar interests as you.

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