April Jeppson: Dare to do mighty things throughout this life

Published 8:45 pm Friday, June 21, 2024

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Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

This week my husband and I had the joy of taking our children to our alma mater. I have wanted to return for years, but there was always something going on or not enough time budgeted into our trip. I hadn’t been on those grounds since my husband graduated in 2004, 20 years ago. We were joined by some dear friends who also attended the school, and it made the visit that much sweeter.

April Jeppson

I have a soft spot for college campuses. There’s an energy about them that is palatable. That energy is magnified if I’m able to visit in the early fall; the breeze, the warmth of the sun and the color of the changing leaves. The students aren’t worried about passing their classes, and the professors aren’t exhausted from their students not passing their classes … yet.

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I wanted my children to experience the feeling that only comes from stepping foot on a college campus. I was able to point to buildings and show them the locations of the stories they’ve heard me tell. I know I lit up as I shared memories, and I could tell that they were genuinely interested and not simply humoring me.

It’s funny though because I don’t actually believe that everyone needs to or should attend a four-year university. I took psychology twice while I was at that school, and both times I failed it. I recall being fascinated by the material but found it difficult to actually go to class. There were maybe 200 other people in my class, and it didn’t take me long to realize that I could miss a day here or there and no one, literally no one would notice that I was gone. When I did go to class, I spent the better part of it daydreaming about the people sitting around me.

I like to do well, and the fear of failure usually motivates me to work extra hard. I remember bringing Dum Dums into my astronomy class in an attempt to stay awake during the videos, but that didn’t help. In fact it seemed nothing that I did helped.

My roommate would sit down and create flashcards for her exams so I thought I’d give it a try. I probably created four cards before I got distracted with something and never returned.

I was in the Honor Society in high school and scored well on my college entrance exams, why couldn’t I figure this out?

I later attended a community college and easily passed my psychology class the first time I took it. This time I sat only a few rows in so I wouldn’t get distracted. With only a quarter of the students in this class, my teacher knew my name and would definitely know if I missed a day or three. The people who sat near me were also in other classes that I attended. I wasn’t just a number here, I could feel I was a part of a community .

I love the friends I made and the experiences I had at the university, even if I didn’t graduate from there. It still holds such a special place in my heart. I hope my children push themselves and try things that they might not be good at. No matter where they go or what they learn, I hope they “dare mighty things.”

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” — Theodore Roosevelt

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.