Getting Started on the Journey, and Seeing the Destination Ahead

Recently, I took the time to check my college transcripts a little more closely in preparation for my spring graduation. Like any student approaching this milestone, I wanted to soak in the effort that I have put into my part-time college career, where’s my GPA and what do I need to do in the last semester. And… I really wanted to see was how many years I’ve been at this because I can’t recall.

As it turns out, I was a little shocked that my college career began in the fall of 2004. “2004? What year is it again?! 2012?? Because I thought I was going on my 7th year. Crap! I’ve been doing this for 8 years??!! Where does the time go?” You need to understand that clearly the time continuum theory seems to be a mystery to me. I shouldn’t be surprised of this since it just last year I found out that I was 38 and not 37? Why does this keep happening to me? Should I be taking Ginkoba supplements?

Throughout my twenties (and thirties), I would say, “I wish I could go back to school” or  “Maybe I’ll go back to college.” Until finally, a wise friend said to me, “stop talking about it and just do it already.” Wow! That’s either a friend who really cares about you or a friend that is tired of hearing you declare your goals and never follow through and then calls you to the carpet on it. In my case, it was thankfully BOTH. The history behind it is, that I did start college after high school (for all the wrong reasons and with little guidance). I didn’t even make it to the end of the first semester. I didn’t officially drop out, I didn’t sell back books, I just walked away from it all (again, for all the wrong reasons). Life went on (as it always does), I had a family and I had a career. But, I knew that I would never get as far as I could go without a degree and I also knew, that I wanted to learn.

So, after the wake up call I received from that friend, I applied to a local college which I knew should be my alma mater. This was about 2 weeks before classes started,  so I hurried to complete the FAFSA (late), apply for Stafford loans (late) and my company tuition reimbursement program (late).  After a lot of assistance from my advisor, I started on my way- a little at a time, as an adult college student.

I’ve had semesters with 6 credits, more often I’ve carried 9-12. There was one full year which I intentionally took off to regain some sanity. Overall, I consider it not too shabby for a working women with a family to rack up 116 credits in without summer courses. The point is, I did it

Come May it will be  8.5 years since I have started this journey with not one college credit under my belt. But I will graduate, with honors (little self pat on the back).

The point is and the reason I am writing all of this, is to let you know… the man/woman/young/old adult reading this… I want you to know that it is never too late. Time goes by so quickly… and who cares? You’ve GOT to start somewhere, even if it is only one or two classes at a time. You can do it! I promise. When I think back all of those years that I pushed it off, I realize that maybe I could have been finished earlier but you can’t let that stop you NOW. It doesn’t matter what you did in the past, you can change it. I doesn’t matter if you take 2 years or 20 years to achieve it… that end mark finally shows up and you realize, “where would I be now, if I didn’t take that step X years ago?” That is what has kept me going.

I finally allow myself to bask in glow of the upcoming achievement, without embarrassment. Those first, unsure steps have allowed me a fruitful experience in learning and growth and I am so thankful that someone had the guts to tell me to put my money where my mouth was. Now that the end is in sight, I realize that “I’ve somehow managed it, I’ve done it!” I’ve had light class loads and times I’ve bitten off more than I could chew, but I did it and I know that you can too. Let me invite you to get it started by telling you, stop over thinking it and just do it.

So, go on now… class offerings are coming out soon and just waiting to have your name on the roster… I believe in you.