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From our first day on Earth we are ranked relative to “statistical” norms.  Our growth is plotted on a chart with a complete dismissal of the unique miracles we each happen to be. College life is no different.

My first day of freshman orientation, still undecided about my major, I read a flyer that said, “Chemical Engineers can do anything.” I said, “Sign me up for that.”

“Anything” was the best category I could think of for myself at that time.  My decision brought new meaning to the term “you don’t know what you don’t know.”

I had NO idea at the time that Chemical Engineering required more credit hours than any other degree on campus. I had NO idea what would be required that is until I sat in a room and the facilitator said look to your left, look to your right, look in front of you, and look behind you. In 4 years 3 of the 4 people you see will not be here.

The price of being able to do “anything” was growing!  After that wonderful uplifting introduction he passed out the results of the School of Engineering entrance exam and I had failed to meet the standards.  It looked like I was off to a great start to be in the number to NOT complete this program.  It’s always painful to be the one who can’t move forward.  I was assigned to a math professor and told to head to her class immediately as Mr. Kill Joy posted the results on the front door for all to see that I would not be moving forward in the School of Engineering.  It was my first experience of the bell curve.  He chopped that curve up and predicted those to the left of the curve(i.e. the highest scores from the average) would most likely succeed and those to the far right(that would be me) were statistically disadvantaged and most likely to not succeed.

I felt like a piece of equipment that had been evaluated as nonfunctional or something.  It was hard news for an 18 year old to handle.  By the time I reached the math professor the tears were falling. I’ll never forget what she said. Cledra statistical probability can’t account for one major variable and that’s how many times you decide to get back up. You’ve been knocked down and yes they have placed you at the worse part of the bell curve. Now you get to decide if you’re going to stay there. No one determines how hard you work except you.

Fast forward not only did I prove to be a statistical anomaly I finished #1 with a full scholarship for graduate work. By my mid 20s I was running projects in Belgium and Germany and now in my 40s I rock the bell as the CEO and founder of PlanBE Coaching, LLC. Don’t ever allow anyone to define your possibility. YOU are the variable no one can measure.

There’s always reason to have H.O.P.E.

Live HOPE. Give HOPE.

Cledra McCullers
Guest Contributor

About the Author

Cledra McCullers is the recent recipient of Atlanta’s Best Self Magazines top 10 over 40 for inspiring others, the Girlfriends Pray Power of a Praying Woman award recipient, and the Shining Star award recipient from the Radical Success Institute for the explosive growth in her private coaching practice.  Cledra combines her passion for coaching with her passion for the principles of Science & Engineering to create customized programs for her clients. She holds both an undergraduate and graduate degree in Engineering and is a Compass Certified Coach.  Be sure to visit Cledra at  www.planBEcoach.com for tips and motivation as well as information about her coaching practice.