From the Outside

by USjournal Student Writer: Rebecca Darrup, Cross-Country Cowgirl

Definition of accountability: the quality or state of being accountable; especially: an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions. Merriam Webster online dictionary

Summer break is a great time, right? No class, a chance to relax a little bit, unwind from the spring semester, enjoy life a little more, maybe? Right... well, I hope your summer's been a little more laid-back than mine! I stayed in New Mexico until the beginning of June this year, an extra three weeks, spent four days with a friend in Tennessee on my drive to Pennsylvania, and started eight weeks of summer classes during my time in Tennessee. On top of that, it's been raining all summer; as thankful as I am to see rain, we're flooding in Pennsylvania, but they've got wildfires in the Southwest where they would be more thankful for wet weather than I am right now! To top it off, one of my horses needed some time off at the beginning of the summer, so he's just now ready to compete again. That's really frustrating when summer is prime time to rodeo! That whole mess is just the tip of the iceberg.

Rebecca Darrup, Student Writer

With everything that's going on lately, it's been really challenging to keep my thoughts positive and keep believing that things are going to work out for my good. A verse in the Bible, Romans 8:28, says And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. My dad sends me this verse while I'm at college as a reminder to keep the faith, and it's encouraging to me, but if I'm totally honest, lately, things have been rough to the point where I'm a little low on hope, despite what the Bible says.

My point here is this: although it's good to have people around you to help you, and keep you accountable and on track, ultimately, you are responsible to keep yourself accountable. Even when times are tough, and maybe you're a little low on faith, you can't rely on others to keep you positive and making the best choices. It's up to you! That doesn't mean you'll never get frustrated, sad or angry about certain circumstances, but it's important to remember that those circumstances will change. Sometimes that means changing who you hang out with, or shifting your schedule around a little bit. You'll struggle, and that's okay. However, you have to admit that you're struggling -- even if it's just to the person in the mirror -- before you can start to improve. Denying that a difficulty is present does not mean that it doesn't exist. You're human; you're going to struggle! But you can't always ride it out by ignoring it. Your best bet is to deal with it head-on!

Rebecca Darrup, Student Writer

I'm feeling a little hypocritical at the moment because this is something that's a challenge for me. I don't like to admit when something is wrong, especially if it's something that I feel shouldn't be wrong in the first place, or there's something I'm irritated with that I probably shouldn't be. For example, I finally went to a rodeo over the weekend. I was a little short on travel money, and I accidentally took a route that required a little extra money without realizing it. I arrived at the rodeo, and then my warm-up plan got changed for me when I had to wait until after it ended to pay my entry fee even though I was in an extra section after the performance. To top it all off, I couldn't find my headphones, which meant no pre-game music. I really was not in the best mood by the time I had to get on my horse! You can't control what you feel, but you are responsible for controlling what you do with how you feel. So, I called my mom, she gave me a minute to whine, then told me to toughen up and deal with the struggles I was facing or come home without making my run. What Mom says, I do (or I try, anyways). I dealt with everything and made my run. While she nudged me in the right direction, she was three hours away from me, and it was up to me to handle things and make the best choice.

S.E. Hinton authored a novel called The Outsiders, which I absolutely love. It can strike some nerves, but it's a book I would recommend everyone read at some point in their lives. As the story unfolds, one of the characters, Randy Adderson, is speaking about a friend of his, and says, He kept trying to make somebody say 'No' and they never did. They never did. That was what he wanted. For somebody to tell him 'No.' To have somebody lay down the law, set the limits, give him something solid to stand on.

In life, particularly as a college kid, people aren't always going to tell you 'no'. You're going to have to set your own limits and tell yourself 'no' when you realize no one is going to do it for you, or even encourage you to do the wrong thing. You know what your law is, and you are the one keeping yourself accountable to stick to it. No one is going to do it for you. You'll make mistakes, and while the consequences can be painful to deal with sometimes, mistakes are part of life. It's how we learn. I'm learning it's okay to be imperfect, and I'm also learning how to be okay with that.

Rebecca Darrup, Student Writer

August brings about moving or returning to college, and as you do that, whether you're starting your very first year, you're a returning student, or you're starting another year but at a different school, I encourage you to be accountable for yourself. Help your friends make good choices, and they'll help you, but at the end of the day, what you decide is up to you. Tell yourself 'no' when you need to, if it's to staying up or out too late, stressing over a test or a roommate, that extra scoop of ice cream you know you don't really want, and the things you know will bring you lower. You have to take care of yourself. Like my pap says, You can't fool the one in the mirror. Everybody else, but not the one in the mirror.

You know what you need to do, and you need to do it for yourself.

Here are Rebecca's other posts, in case you missed them:

Best of luck in all your endeavors,
especially as you move forward on your college path!

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