In Which I Go Back to School

by Cate on September 17, 2014

I have only a handful of regrets in my life, but the one that seems to haunt me the most is not going to college. I started, registering for two classes at a local college after I graduated high school, and then, a few years later, I completed a Business Management program at the same school. But then, it just wasn’t the right time for me. And while it has remained a regret ever since, I still believe that if my heart wasn’t in it, it would have been a waste of money and time to go back then. At the time, I felt like I was making the right decision.

While you can absolutely, positively can succeed without a college degree, and I have done well, there’s no denying that having the degree just gives you more options. Period.

Now all these years later, the lack of a degree is something I have thought about constantly. A friend described it as “something unrest within my soul,” and she couldn’t have been more spot on. The question I kept coming back to was “how would getting my degree now change my end game?”  Because if I was going to get a degree and just keep the current job I have, what’s the point? What would it change? What would make it worth it to go back now? I knew I wanted to get the degree, but the question was what kind of degree? And what would I do with it after I got it?

Slowly over the past six months or so, I have really tried to hone in on how it could alter the future for me. What I could potentially do with the degree. How the end game would change.

And then finally I had the answers. Surprisingly, my biggest moment of clarity came after a conversation with Nick. And once I got to that place, the rest all of the sudden seemed easy. Or the easiest it’s going to be over the next few years.

I contacted my high school to get my transcripts. And contacted the college where I completed the Business Management program, which thankfully earned me additional college credits.

And applied to go back to school back in the Spring.

I started last month, and honestly, I couldn’t be more proud of myself.

Madeline came with me on my first meeting with the Admissions Counselor back in May. I had explained to the kids that I just couldn’t focus on school when I had graduated high school, and it wasn’t the right time, and how much I regretted not having my degree. I stress the importance of school and grades all.the.time. with the kids, and this is definitely one huge reason why.

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While I was meeting with the Admissions Counselor, the receptionist had kindly given Madeline some drawing paper to keep herself busy during the appointment. At that time, I didn’t have a final decision about going back to school because I needed to see just how feasible it would be. Time-wise. Financially. Scheduling. I needed to find out if I could really, conceivably make this work.

The man that I met with, Luis, was so kind. He said I just did things backwards. I got married and had kids first, and now it’s time for school. I left feeling confident that, yes, I could do this.

As we were walking to the parking lot after the meeting, I asked Madeline what she had drawn while I was talking with Luis, and she showed me.

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“What is it a picture of?” I asked.

This is the college, and this is you, starting.

I couldn’t love it more.

And that tiny little thing was not really tiny after all. To me, it was a huge affirmation, unbeknowst to her, that I was exactly where I should be.

I really try hard to live by example for the kids. And this is a huge lesson in having regrets and fixing them. Some regrets can’t be fixed. This is a big one, and thankfully, one that I can rectify. It’s a huge lesson for them in making mistakes and righting wrongs. And most definitely that it’s never too late.

And so it begins.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

B September 17, 2014 at 9:47 pm

What great news. You are all so right, its now the right time. And, love all that you are teaching the kids (and yourself, that never too late to change things).

So do you have ideas on what you want to study. Or are you at the point of figuring out where the classrooms are. Ha. I don’t know what you do now for a job, wishing you all the best in this new endeavor.

Woo, hoo. Good for you!!!

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Joanne September 18, 2014 at 7:00 am

I had no idea!! That is so exciting and I am so happy for you!
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Meg September 18, 2014 at 9:23 am

Congrats on taking this big step — I know you’re already rocking it and will continue to do so! Very inspiring and, I’m sure, awesome for Madeline and Nick to see.
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Alison September 18, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Wonderful news! So glad you’re doing this, and you should be very proud. Your kids will be proud, too! Never too late.

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Sarah Walker Caron (Sarah's Cucina Bella) September 18, 2014 at 8:57 pm

I am so happy for you. This is going to be an awesome, awesome experience!
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patsy September 28, 2014 at 8:24 pm

So happy for you and know that you will do awesome! When you are ready to make something a reality, it’s amazing how your motivation matches your goals!
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