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10:24 a.m. - 2012-10-27
Last week, I got an unexpected letter in the mail saying that my "academic achievement" has qualified me to join Phi Theta Kappa, "the nation's largest honor society for community college students."

Nice, I thought.

Yesterday I had my orientation meeting and I realized that it is more than nice, it is really freaking cool.

Not only does it set you apart from the pack -- because the Phi Theta Kappa distinction is marked on your transcripts, your graduation attire, etc -- but it opens doors to tons of scholarships and academic opportunities. Even the Ivies are willing to take a good look at PTK students. I was kicked out of Wellesley, which at the time was ranked the No. 2 liberal arts college in the nation, 14 years ago, for being anorexic. For the last 10-plus years, I've figured I pretty much blew my academic career and my life when I chose my eating disorder over my education.

I decided a year and a half ago to try to turn things around anyway -- to go to a community college and aim for a master's from Yale someday. I thought it was a long shot.

Now I'm realizing it's not so long.

My problem -- what I'm kicking myself for right now -- is that I really haven't been doing as well as I can because, frankly, I haven't been working all that hard. I study enough to get A's, but not consistent 100s or the top score in the class. Why bother, the voice in my head tells me...

Now I'm realizing that the difference between a 95 and a 100 DOES matter. It's the difference between standing out a little or a lot.

This is a long way of saying that PTK has motivated me to raise my standards for myself. Sure, it's true that "if you aim for perfection, you discover it's a moving target." But it's also true that you get a lot closer to perfection if you aim for it.

I would really like to be able to look back at my life when I'm old and say I achieved everything I was capable of achieving.



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