During your college journey you will encounter many different obstacles. How you handle them will decide if you succeed or fail. Then again, who decides if you have succeeded or failed? YOU! Do not let how others talk about you or think about you define you. If you do, it can only bring you down. Have you heard the word “Haters?” I know I have. I did not realize how many “Haters” I truly had until I returned to college. Haters are those who are truly jealous of what you are trying to become or who you are. Haters are those who constantly put you down for ALL the mistakes you have made, call you names and so on. UNFORTUNATLEY that is not just a child’s game, adults play it very well.
You DON’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT, just be yourself. You are going to make mistakes and you are going to have to become selfish if you are going to succeed in obtaining a college degree. People cannot handle that. You have sacrificed so much over the years to raise your children, to be a good spouse and employee. Making the decision to return to college and being determined to complete it may make people think you’re being selfish. Really? Think about that. Why are they thinking your being selfish? Because you make the time to do what is needed to complete you work and study? You make sacrifices?
During my four years I have been told by my own GROWN children that I was being selfish because I wasn’t there every second they needed me. Well darn, if I did that I might as well give up my entire life then. 🙂 You know what I am talking about. As I have stated in previous posts, all 16 quarters carried a tragedy I had to deal with. My first entire year was dealing with sons who got into legal trouble and I had to help them get through that. Hmmm selfish huh? A son who decided he had to continuously move back home because he could not maintain his own place and relationships; starting drinking heavily and not respecting our house rules. Hmmm there’s that selfish thing again. My second year was filled with much the same thing. A son in a long-term rehab out-of-state, another son still full of drama on a daily basis. His drama created incredible stress within our family. Every quarter he had something that was a major disaster, whether it was financial, work related, relationship related, or housing related. It was my job to help him clean it up. SELFISH. Having to move three times in four years due to situations beyond our control such as our places were being sold and we had (30) days to find another place and move. All the while working full-time and going to school. SELFISH. Dealing with my first husband’s gf taunting me on a regular basis (MAJOR STRESS :-)). Finding things out about my childhood that weren’t true and turning my life upside down. Such as learning 51 years later that I was NOT a twin! Try that one on for size. I had been told my entire life that my twin sister Stephanie died at birth. I grew up in a very emotionally abusive home and was told the good twin died, the evil twin lived! So imagine how I felt finding out that there was never a twin! That quarter and the next, I was out of the box emotionally. HOWEVER, I still had to maintain enough to complete the quarters and I did with straight A’s (Full-time).
Then came what was supposed to be my final quarter. All hell broke loose. The one son who was in rehab returned home and relapsed, the other son who caused daily stress decided he didn’t want to ever talk to me again because I refused to help him anymore and began to tough love both my boys. I realized I was not helping them by constantly rescuing them. Then one of the most important people in my life and my biggest advocate Papa Ange died suddenly (I adopted him as my dad and he adopted me as a daughter 6 years ago). He was a retired homicide detective and loved watching me going through my criminal justice classes. He helped me incredibly from his experience. Mama Ange has severe advanced Alzheimer’s. No one saw this coming. Just like that, everything changed. Now it was planning a funeral, burial and dealing with Mama. She had to be cared for 24/7. There were days when I did not sleep for 24 hours straight. Still had to work, still had to go to classes. That went on for a little over a month until we were able to find a place for her and get her moved. Then it was taking care of the house, transferring everything etc. I was taking (3) classes, one which was Statistics which was INCREDIBLY hard for me. I gave it everything I had and more. Then my youngest son had a life threatening injury that resulted in 3rd degree full-thickness burns on both hands and part of his face. I was in the hospital with him for three straight days without a break. SELFISH. Remember now, school is in the mix too.
I was falling behind in my math class, the other two were my final electives and they were not difficult. I had to make a decision that I had not made my entire four years. I had to drop my Statistics class and take it the next quarter. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE MY LAST QUARTER! I was depressed about it, but I knew in my heart I had to do it. It was the BEST decision I could’ve made. Now it was going to be the only class I had left and I could focus strictly on that class.
We all go through trial and tribulations. It is how you handle them. People are going to be unhappy with some of your decisions. THAT’S OK! If they truly care about you, they will understand, if not, LET IT GO! Some people are meant to leave your life so that you can find the true you. I know that sounds harsh, but it is the truth.
Like the picture above says “BE WHAT YOU KNOW YOU ARE.”
When you hold that degree in your hands, you will know what I am talking about. All the pain and the struggles and tough decisions you had to make was for that paper that says ‘YOU HAVE SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED THE REQUIREMENTS FOR YOU ASSOCIATES/BACHELOR’S/MASTER’S DEGREE.” The INTENSE pride and sense of accomplishment you will feel will be overwhelming and all those struggles won’t matter then.
Reach deep inside and pull out all the stops. “IT’S ALL WITHIN.” GRADUATION!!!!
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?