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Want to succeed? Build a support network

By Jenna Moede

Have you ever tried to do something on your own and totally failed or bragged about what you'd do in the future without any real plans? I have.  

I have failed all on my own and worse yet, I have failed after being so sure of an outcome that I went on and on about it to people close to me only to look flaky later when that outcome never happened.  

I've come to two conclusions. First, I have the freedom to change my mind wherever, whenever and however I want (without apology), no matter what. Second, in order to be successful, I need a support network.  

This year my classes won't start for a few more months since the school is online, but I am busy building my support network now. I don't want to tackle college on my own again. For my undergraduate degree I told everyone that I had everything under control even when I struggled, and I flat out failed on my first attempt at a master's degree.  

This time, I want to let those close to me help me succeed. I know that people have wisdom to share, and I've realized in this military life that gleaning wisdom from those that harbor it benefits me greatly.  

So I've thought long and hard about what types of people I want supporting me. While I want all of the support from anyone that wants to, I know that if I build a network of reliable people, I'll feel prepared to handle whatever comes my way. I want to have people that not only support me, but that I can express my thoughts and reliance on them and have them understand.  

It's a big request for those people.  

I have chosen a few people that I have had close relationships with for a long time like my spouse, my parents and my best friend.  

These people, in my life, know me better than anyone else. They know what makes me tick and why I want to achieve the goals I have set.  

I wanted to choose people that not only know me but know how to push me in the right direction. I wanted people who I respect and admire and whose opinion is not only valuable but wise. They might not always tell me what I want to hear, but they can help me achieve my dream of earning a master's degree.   

Lastly, I realized that my university has people meant to support me already built in. My academic advisor not only gives me advice but can also direct me to helpful resources when I feel overwhelmed, I earn a poor grade or I just feel confused in my program. They can offer clarity, and it turns out, they want to help.  

I also understand now that my professors can help me not only learn course material, but they want me to have success in their class. They can offer unique support to students if only we reach out to them.  

You might have personal support that looks different from mine. Maybe you don't want to include family or don't have friends you feel comfortable adding, but you can always find people to support you at work, in clubs or classmates you form relationships with.  

Whoever you choose, make sure you can get ahold of them when you need to and that you can rely on them for support.  

Finally, personally, I know that I can add to my support network whenever I want. I will not go through college alone this time. I will let the people close to me help and guide me when I feel lost or unsure. I'll allow them to help keep me motivated when I feel like giving up, and, as always, I will reserve the right to change my mind at any point in time.  

Only I can know what I really want to do, but I can let others in on my goals and dreams so that I don't have to find the path by myself. It's a refreshing thought to know that I am backed by the people I have in my life.  

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