So I’m on the road to graduating, again. I don’t k now why it’s taken me 6 years to finish college, but hey, better late than never, right?! Actually I do know why it has taken me so long. It’s a crazy mix of chaos and the inability to do anything for myself. All my life I have felt utterly guilty anytime I was focused on something for me.
From the moment I could hold a pencil, I have loved to write. It’s been my way of dealing with every heartbreak, every challenge, and every moment of joy in my life. I started with this little red diary that I wrote in when I was seven years old. Sometimes I go back to that little book and check on the little girl who rambled on those pages and the one thing that sticks out at me still is the fact that at seven years old, I dreamed of going to college.
I was a pretty smart kid. So smart I was bored. I thought for sure college would challenge me with new ideas. I was a pretty good student, in fact if I said how many colleges were interested in having me, it would sound like a fisherman’s tale, but I could have made many choices. I have to believe God’s plan for me was somewhere in the choices I made.
When I first went to college I enrolled at the University of Houston. It was love hate relationship. I loved it that I was going to college, but I hated that I still didn’t feel challenged. And I hated even more that by the time I was 19, I was $9,300 in the whole. I had burned up my scholarship money, and I was out of options. Back then, financial aid was so much harder to come by. So, I went a different direction.
I married my husband, raised half the kids in the neighborhood, and every few years I would feel this urge to go back to school. But it was easier to do something else: take care of the babies, help my in-laws or my parents, be there for a friend in need… Whatever it was I felt like I needed to serve others more than I needed to follow my heart. I didn’t feel worthy of carving out something for myself. I still struggle to believe my dreams should come true.
I tried to forget about what I loved, and just do whatever anyone needed of me. Then, a few years ago, I thought I should make a change, and I put my heart into going back to school. I even managed to earn a scholarship from my 4.0 gpa, but before I could finish, life took another twist. This time, the twist was to welcome four babies into our family. I bombed the last semester I had enrolled in because I just couldn’t keep up with seven kids, a job, working through the CPS processes for adoption, court hearings, and other challenges in our family. For a minute, I thought maybe I should just give up.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but hey this is the bloggosphere, we all wanna be writers! I can do that without going to college, but I wanted to do something else too. I want to teach. Why? Public schools are a mess! They rely on standardized tests that have nearly ruined the magic of learning. There’s no real money in it. Classrooms are riddled with discipline problems. Students no longer value their right to a free education. It’s an under-appreciated profession. Still, there are these kids that fall through the cracks, and for some reason, I think I could be the one to catch them.
Maybe that’s a silly dream. But somehow, I finally see a way to make it happen. I found a college that isn’t about sitting there 3 months and learning nothing. I found a school that honestly works at my pace. I was able to finish the English class in one day. Once you demonstrate you are competent in an area, you move to the next class. I love it. No more boredom. No more waiting for a challenge. Instead, I have created the challenge. I’m sixteen days in, and I’ve completed 4 classes. The best part, tuition is a flat rate per term, so whether I do 4 classes or 40, I don’t have to scrounge up more pennies!