The mug is broken

You drop your favorite mug. The handle breaks. It’s a clean break, so you grab some glue and dab it on, let it dry, and your mug is good as new again. You can’t even tell it was ever broken.

This time, you drop your favorite mug and it’s not such a clean break. Instead of just the handle, the mug breaks into four or five pieces. You try to glue it back together. It looks good, but it doesn’t hold water so well anymore, slowly leaking through the smallest cracks. So you repurpose it, you put it on the shelf so you can still admire it every day. It still lives on.

Now imagine that same coffee mug. It has taken a plunge from seven feet high onto the hard linoleum floor and broken into a hundred pieces. Chunks of porcelain here, flecks there. You can’t even tell where the pieces belong, they’re so broken.

Some pieces have to be thrown away because they have been so damaged from the fall, they can’t be saved. That leaves empty spaces in the mug, holes that cannot be filled. That means the mug has lost its purpose, because with all of those holes, the mug won’t be able to hold any water.

You make a wholehearted attempt at gluing the mug back together. You take your time, you glue the pieces back with precision. But as you’re trying to fix it, it breaks even more.  As you focus on putting the pieces together on one side, the pieces you glued on the other side are coming undone. Nothing seems to be coming together right. None of the pieces are fitting back together like they’re supposed to.

Then you realize there’s too much missing, too much irreparable damage done. You can’t save that mug, no matter how hard you try, no matter how much time you take, no matter how much patience you have. It’s all a fruitless effort. You need to give up on it. It needs to be thrown away.

Because even if you spent all the time in the world gluing that mug back together piece by piece, there’s not any glue in the world that could ever make it whole again.

I cannot be whole again.


I went to college right out of high school. It wasn’t the college I wanted to go to. I had scholarships to colleges and universities all over the eastern half of the United States. But it was the only college my parents would allow me to go to, because it was right next to home, and they could remain in control of my every move.

I went for 3 full semesters. I changed my major several times. Every semester, there was always a problem with my classes, some technical error messing shit up. It just added to my overall dislike of the college experience.

Then they put me in classes with students who were chronic failures. By that I mean, as a Freshman, they put me in classes full of upper-level undergrads who failed the same course multiple times, in some weird thinking that I, as a student around the same age, would be able to influence them and teach them in a way the professor couldn’t. I did not sign up to be a teacher. I wanted to learn.

Instead, I found myself dreading the days, semester after semester. I sat in my classes bored to tears. I saw the looks of frustration on my professors’ faces semester after semester. I shared in their loss of hope. A brilliant student with a bright future, wanted by all different schools, stuck at a college full of students who had little potential for success. And it wasn’t because they weren’t intelligent; so many of them were just lazy and didn’t put forth any effort. They were the athletes who came to class because they had to. They were the scholarship students who made it in based on factors outside of merit.

Despite my lack of effort and my loss of hope, I managed to achieve high rankings in my first year. I received an award medal. I was featured in local papers. And I didn’t understand why, because I didn’t even try. I felt so undeserving, because I was. I shouldn’t be awarded for something I didn’t even try to do.

So when my father got sick in 2006, it didn’t make me sad to drop out of college to take care of him. Even though I had to, it didn’t feel like a loss. I dropped out with a 4.0 GPA. I forfeited a $60,000+ scholarship. And it didn’t faze me one bit. I don’t think I would have lasted there four years. I lost my motivation to go there before I even started my first semester.

(When I wanted to go back to school, I couldn’t. Even though I financially supported myself, I was still considered a dependent and  my parents were not allowing me to go back.)

Why am I bring this up? Because I feel the same thing happening again. I feel myself leaning towards dropping out of grad school. I have a 4.0 GPA. I have a scholarship. And yet, here I am, seriously considering dropping out of the University I thought for sure I would have earned my degree at.

I’ve lost my motivation to go. My experience there has been ruined for reasons I still don’t understand (and for reasons I can’t write about). I feel a sense of dread about starting classes again. I am no longer a proud student. I am angry and hurt. I am disheartened. I feel let down. I feel attacked. I don’t think I can continue for three years at a place where I no longer feel comfortable to be myself, to be honest, to be me.

I’ve spent the last week exploring other options. Other options exist. Much more affordable options. At places where I can start over, and hopefully not be judged for who I am.

I need to be motivated. Once I start to lose that, even a little, it ruins the experience for me. And this has happened again, as it has happened so many times before in my life.

Twice a dropout. Twice a 4.0 GPA dropout. Twice a scholarship-forfeiting, 4.0 GPA dropout.