College makes you – COME ALIVE!

College makes you – COME ALIVE!.

College makes you – COME ALIVE!

Think about those words. When we do things that are good for us and others, we literally COME ALIVE. Reflect for a moment on the day you were accepted to college, can you remember the feelings? Yes, some of them were fear, but honestly, there was a great deal of excitement. How man times did you day “I’m a college student!” I know I did hundreds of times. I still do, even after (4) years and two degrees. It is just even more incredible to say “I’m a college graduate!”

COME ALIVE. allow yourself to be fulfilled. I can hear you now “It’s hard to come alive with all this studying, exams, work and family.” REALLY????? Why would you deny yourself the good stuff? No matter what, you are doing what others refuse to do. You are bettering yourself. Improving you and your family’s future. Giving yourself more opportunities.  Stop the self-pity. Stop trying ti pour yourself another glass of failure. Look at all of this as the GLASS HALF FULL instead of the GLASS HALF EMPTY!

As we get older we start to realize our mortality and we realize it is time to make a move. Before you know it the four years will be over and you will have that PRECIOUS DEGREE!  I cannot reiterate enough that feeling you are going to experience. I remember Strayer’s President Dr. Stollards’ words at the end of commencement when she said, “TURN YOUR TASSLES AS YOU ARE NOW A GRADUATE OF STRAYER UNIVERSITY!”  I still get the goose bumps when I think about those words or hear the words “Kathleen Gerber, Bachelor’s of Science, Magna Cum Laude.” You can feel those goose bumps too. Instead of thinking “Oh I wish I would have.” There’s no room here for woulda, coulda, shoulda.

Create your bucket list for life and GO FOR IT! You only live once. Last year, I allowed myself to experience something I have wanted to do my whole life. Skydive. I went with my son and a great friend. Oh yes, I was petrified until the plane was actually flying towards our destination of 13,500 ft. I had a sense of calm because I had made the decision and did not wimp out. IT WAS INCREDIBLE! I loved every single second of it and now I am addicted. The point I am trying to make here is you do not know what you are missing out on if you only allow things to be a dream or a fantasy or wishful thinking.  For me, I don’t want to die with regrets. I don’t want to die with “if only.”

Pump yourself up! Be positive! Yell and Scream like a cheerleader would!

Don’t allow yourself to get stuck in a rut or complacent. This is it! 🙂 🙂 🙂


Worry about your Character. NOT YOUR REPUTATION.










Since today is Friday, let’s keep it light. I think this says it all. I know I get this confused a lot and I am sure that you do too. We are always concerned about our “Rep.” instead of who we really are and that is our character. We waste so much precious time worrying about how our friends, co-workers, fellow students and society in general think about us that we are missing the overall big picture.

What does your character say about you? Are you a truly good person, or one full of lip service? Are you a true believer in God/Higher Power. or again just lip service? Do you contribute to your community? Or all talk and no action? Do you always talk about not judging others, but in reality you judge all the time?  Do you talk about following God’s path but yet hold grudges? Do you profess to forgive as God forgives us for our sins and yet constantly remind people how they messed up? Throw up the past? Don’t let go? Do you demand to be forgiven but don’t forgive? Bottom line are you a HYPOCRITE?

Character is who you are in the good times and in the bad times. Character is about being righteous, not just flapping your lips.  Be the person people admire and want to emulate. Also, do not be someone you are not. Be true to yourself.

Reflect on what you think your character is…… Change what you need to change and Be the BEST you can be.  Be kind to your neighbors and humanity. Give back instead of always taking. Share your knowledge.


When it becomes too much. JUST BE YOU!

When it becomes too much. JUST BE YOU!.

While going to college – DON’T FORGET TO MAKE MEMORIES!!

This is advice that I also need to take. I have to remind myself of this. When we are working adults going to college we find it hard to take time to do anything fun or exciting. Afterall, we have a paper to write, homework to do, a quiz to take, dinner to make, laundry to do, work from the office and on and on and on……

I had won a scholarship my second year and it was huge, $5,000. It was presented to me by Elizabeth Edwards from the Possible Women’s Foundation. Ms. Edwards was fighting a losing battle against cancer. The topic she spoke about was how important it was for women to be strong and happy. I watched her and listened to her intently and all I could think about was how important making memories truly are. Here was this highly successful powerful woman and she was dying of cancer. What was her legacy? Did she make enough memories for her family to cherish? I know it sounds weird but that was the thoughts I was having. In front of me stood a woman for whom I had incredible respect for and wanted to be like. She was the lawyer and author and teacher.

College is crucial to changing your life, but in the process do not forget to make memories that you can look back on and smile. Remember to take that picture with your children, grandchildren, spouse, friends and so on. It only takes 5 seconds to take a picture.; an hour to go to dinner or lunch. How about sitting at the table with your family/spouse and discussing the days events? Now I’m not saying you have to do that everyday as that it unreasonable, just find the time, even if it is once a month.

I have been asked many times if it is important to walk graduation for an Associate degree. YES ! YES!  YES!  I asked that question when it was my time. I thought, “It’s only an Associate Degree.”  It’s NOT just an Associate Degree – It’s SUCCESS!  It is two years of hard work and sacrificing. sleepless nights, stress and anxiety. YOU EARNED THAT DEGREE! 🙂 I am so glad that I did, (I created a GREAT memory).  Walking across that stage gave me the energy and strength and desire to continue on with my degree. It was AWESOME! Then the following year, I got the pleasure to walk across that stage again for my Bachelor’s Degree! (Another Awesome Memory!)

Walk every graduation, enjoy every award, adorn yourself with your honor medallions. SHOW IT ALL OFF! (MEMORY 🙂 )

Memories are crucial to our legacy. Imagine your great- great- granchildren seeing a picture of your graduation – it may motivate them to do the same. Memories are also important for us as we age. They remind us of our accomplishments and fun times. They make us SMILE! 🙂

What memory are you going to make today?

How to deal with a difficult Professor – It’s all about ATTITUDE!

 We have all had a Professor that we didn’t like or who seemed to really hate their job. Indeed, it can be frustrating BUT there are a few ways to handle it. Afterall, YOU are paying for your education. The first way of course is to ask for a meeting with your Professor to discuss your concerns. He/She may not be aware of what they are doing. ALSO, there may be something terrible going on in their lives and they are unknowingly projecting it onto you. This isn’t grade school where you can get your parents to fight your fight. You have to take charge of your education. If you find that discussing it with the Professor truly does not accomplish anything, your next option is to go to your Advisor and even the Student Advocate for your school. It is their job to make your experience at the college as successful and positive as possible. They have a direct link to the Campus Director and the Dean. Now let’s say that doesn’t satisfy you. Then you need to take your issue to the Campus Director and maybe even the Dean.

**Online students follow the same actions. Sometimes it is necessary to file an official complaint. Before you take any drastic steps, PLEASE make sure you have all of your information and ducks in a row. Document each situation, how you tried to handle it and so on.

It’s all about attitude, believe me I know. There were times in the last four years that I just about lost my mind. The stress of classes and life were at their peak and instead of handling the issues as the educated adult I was, I had meltdowns and made a fool of myself. You can’t go to the campus and take a temper tantrum and demand this and that, and just being a plain idiot. I know you’re frustrated and overwhelmed, but guess what? You are not the only student at that College/University. There are thousands. Hmmmm, and I thought I was the most important of all 🙂 .

Now back to the issue. You can request another Professor or do what I have done. Just make up your mind that this is YOUR education and you are going to ignore the Professor’s lack of motivation (or what you see as lack of motivation) and learn everything you can from that class. Don’t blame getting a C or D in the class on “I just did not like that Professor, so I didn’t care”, or “That Professor did not know what they were talking about.” You had 12 weeks to change it or accept the class and LEARN from it. Look, you are not going to like every Professor you have during your college journey, but each one has something to teach you. Get past being childish and be the adult you are supposed to be. Study harder, read more, ask other classmates for assistance or get out of that class. YOU HAVE OPTIONS. Make a decision and move on.

Let’s say you get a grade that you definitely can prove you deserve a higher grade, the University has a policy in place that allows you to dispute your grade. Dispute your grade. Follow the guidelines and prove why you feel you deserve an A instead of a B. I have done this too and what granted the grade change. You again must PROVE your reason.

I am very passionate about my education and I take it very seriously. I take my grades seriously and my GPA. We will falter and have meltdowns when we think someone is making it difficult for us to succeed. Unfortunately I have done that and ALWAYS  walk away feeling like a fool. Think about it this way, would you act like a fool at your job and take a temper tantrum and stomp up and down? NOOO  you would not, unless of course you really did not want that job anyway. College is preparing you for another career and another chapter in your life. Take the challenge gracefully. Think about how you would act at the job. Or think about how it looks (I hate that part 😦 ). Think about the word PROFESSIONAL and ADULT (Ok, sometimes I don’t want to either). Be professional in how you handle your feelings about a Professor. They have been where you are and understand, they really do. I learned that from one Professor I really felt was uninterested in teaching the class. It drove me NUTS! I decided to sit down and talk with her and explain my frustrations. I came across a little harsh because I had allowed it to build up way to long. She listened to me without reacting to me and then when I was finished, she looked at me and apologized. She stated she would make an effort to see how she was approaching the class. She also informed me that during the first week of classes she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer! WOW, did I ever feel like crap. The Professor made a profound statement to me however. She stated “I am the Professor and I should be doing my job so that you get all you can out of this class. I promise to give more of myself to my students regardless of what is going on.”

We never know. Professors are human and I have to believe that they all want to teach their field and to expand their knowledge onto people who want it. Granted there are some grumpy old Professors. Who cares, be selfish and allow yourself to be open to the knowledge they have to offer. Let them be grumpy, just as you can be. As long as you are getting what you need. If not, change it.


Today’s Motivational Quote – The Moment is NOW!

Do not wait for someone else to tell you when the right time is. YOU make the decision and YOU take the first step. Start living your dream NOW.

Picture yourself in your cap and gown holding your degree. Come on YOU CAN DO THIS!

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Online Classes vs On Campus Classes

You have made the decision to return to college. Do you take online classes or go to the campus? To begin with, I am grateful to even have that option. When I went to college the first time, like ohhh 30 years ago there was not that option. I have done both.

When I registered for my first classes, I chose to take them on campus because I really did not have a clue what taking an online class would be like. Us old folks don’t like change and have fear of the unknown as it is. 🙂 I am glad I chose that route at first because it acclimated me on the business of being a student again. They offered workshops on studying techniques and writing APA style (The dreaded APA ) 🙂 Just kidding. I had no idea what APA was and Turnitin. Being on campus also gave me the opportunity to know the University and Professors. It also gave me the ability to begin working out all the kinks of going to college and still having a job, family and friends.  There was another important factor for me at that time and it was “Socialization.”  I was able to speak with fellow students who had the same goals and dreams. People who had the same struggles but were determined to get through them. Students who had their eye on the prize -GRADUATION! Going to campus at first put things into perspective. They were night classes so they did nit interfere with my work schedule. The worst that happened was I may have shown up once or twice a few minutes late.

After listening to other students speak about doing classes online (I met them in the computer lab where they were doing their work), and hearing about the flexibility it gave  and how it allowed them to concentrate more on their work, I decided to give it a try. To be honest, you know as well as I do when you are sitting in a classroom for 4 hours there are many disruptions and those who are not into their education talk, talk, talk. That interferes with my trying to learn, besides it’s just plain rude. 😦 (Sorry, I had to be honest here). So for my second quarter I chose the online avenue and I have not turned back since! I absolutely love doing my classes online. (Ok, wait a minute, I must also be honest and say that the only classes I take on campus are my MATH classes because I am such a dummy and illiterate in math that I need to be in a setting where I can pick up the little extras from the professor.)

I have completed my Bachelor’s degree virtually all online. Online gives incredible flexibility. You still interact with fellow students through discussion threads and emails. Professors can do workshops online where students can log in, hear and interact with the Professor and students. You get feedback from fellow classmates on your discussions and you can also communicate with others through the schools email system. I have actually had study groups with my fellow classmates through SKYPE.

I often hear people talk about they are afraid to consider online classes. I am here to say that don’t be concerned. The Professors are always available by phone, or email and they are eager to help you. I cannot count the number of phone calls and emails I have sent my Professors over the past four years. I was never put off or told I was being a pain in the butt. Professors appreciate when you ask questions as long as it is not at 3:00 in the morning, 🙂 Online does give you much more flexibility. You decide when you are going to class (Oh yea, every online course has lectures that you listen to, so therefore it is like having your own personal Professor talking directly to you).  You do not have to rush to get to class on time and yes you can go to class in your jammies, lol I can’t tell you how many times I have done that too.

Online classes does take some getting used to. You have to learn to discipline yourself. If you are serious about your education, you will make it work. You have to set boundaries on being interrupted. You have to turn the television off and phones too. I treated it like I was at work. When the door was closed to my bedroom or home office, that meant I was studying and was not to be disturbed unless the house was burning down.  If you take that approach, you will adjust quickly and find that online classes are the way to go.  Discipline, Discipline, Discipline. If you have young children you will need to develop a system by setting up a movie or depend on your spouse for help. If you are a single parent, you are going to have to ask for help from friends just as you would if you were going to classes on campus.

As a college student with many demands, you will need to reach deep down inside yourself and find the strength and answers and do what works best for you and your lifestyle. Look at all the options WITH AN OPEN MIND. Do not automatically say “That won’t work for me.” How do you know unless you try? Have faith and confidence in yourself and you will make it.

Keep your eye on the prize – GRADUATION! (Thank you Dean Sizer)! 🙂

Here is a picture of MY GRADUATION – Bachelors Degree with High Honors – Sept. 24, 2011.  GO FOR IT!

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Only the Driven

Three little words that mean a great deal.

Making the decision to return to college and sticking with it in fact does require being driven. Think about it. You probably work a full-time job or even a part-time job. You have a spouse or partner and children and a house to take care of. Normally that overwhelms most people. But for the person making the decision to return to college  it can seem like the IMPOSSIBLE! Notice I said the words “seem Like.”  Every situation is manageable if you allow it to be. I know for myself when I first started back to school I was frazzled ALOT! Anxiety now became a daily word in my vocabulary. I cannot tell you how many times I cried, how many times I said “I can’t do this”, how many times I said “I have bitten off more than I can chew.” The more frustrated I was the more determined I became.

The lightbulb went off in my head that said “The Universe is testing how much you want this.” Hmmm, really? Ok then, I had to become willing to fight back. It seemed like obstacles were always in my way; work was incredibly busy, my grown children fought me every step of the way (it was taking time away from all their needs), my husband sometimes got frustrated (but in all honesty he was my biggest fan and constantly reinforced me) I think it was more in my head that I was neglecting my husband than him really being frustrated :-). The house was falling apart, laundry was piling up and so on. I felt like pulling my hair out. I found myself resenting all of those things. I started getting angry at my children and husband and my home. See, here was the main problem, I had trained my family very well that I could handle everything; work, the household, paying bills, going shopping etc. They came to expect it. Well that had to change and fast.

What I had to do was sit my family down and discuss MY expectations. What I needed for a change. College is important to me and it was time that they supported ME. At first there was a great deal of resistance especially when it came to cleaning the house, laundry and dishes. Oh yea and helping to take care of our two dogs. I had to stay strong and not give in. BOY IS THAT DIFFICULT FOR A CARETAKER TO DO. LOL. But I had to stick to it. It didn’t go very smoothly ans sometimes it still doesn’t. I have had to stay strong, oh yea, very strong. I had to let the laundry pile up, leave the dishes in the sink, let the house get dusty and not vacuum. (Let me tell you, it took everything I had, every ounce of energy I had to let that happen).

I stood my ground. There were 4 grown adults in the house, they weren’t children. One son was 22 and the other son was 19. There was no excuse they couldn’t help. Eventually they got the message and started to help A LITTLE. I had to learn what was important and  what wasn’t. School was important , everyone and everything else had another place in my life. I learned how to prioritize. I kept remembering ONLY THE DRIVEN. Only the driven succeed. Only the driven graduate. Only the driven maintain high GPA‘s. ONLY THE DRIVEN!

I even put that saying on the front page of my cell phone. My first Dean, her name was Dean Sizer told me to always remember to keep GRADUATION in the forefront and make that your goal. That word is my screen saver.

The main thing you need to remember is you are not alone and you do not need to be everyone’s savior and caretaker. Learn to delegate responsibilities. (I know it’s hard to give up the control 🙂 ) If you are going to graduate, that is what you have to do. If you have small children, then you study when they go to bed, or on the weekends when your spouse can help, or even ask a neighbor that your are close to if they can help. Your true friends will be more than willing to help. Don’t use these struggles as a reason to throw in the towel. Quitters don’t win. Being an older college student sure does have its challenges, but that is all they are – challenges. Challenges are meant to be fought against and won. Just think about the military people who are completing their degrees online WHILE FIGHTING A WAR! If anyone had the excuse to say “I can’t do this right now, it would be them.”

Pull yourself up, dust yourself off, and STAY FOCUSED! STAY DRIVEN! When you walk graduation, you will reap the rewards for all your hard work and sacrifice. Hearing your name and the degree you earned in front of hundreds of people is MINDBLOWING!

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