Monday started yet another semester of school for me and while I am usually excited and ready for whatever comes my way, I have to admit that I am NOT looking forward to the next 4 months!
Sometimes when I think about school and look back at the two years I’ve spent earning my degree I wonder how I’ve managed to stick with it and not only stick with it but maintain an A average. When I look back at the road I had to take to get to where I am now I’m amazed that I’ve had the diligence and the strength to keep going. There is something that no one reading this post (aside from maybe my sister) knows about me, and while I did think long and hard before posting about it, in the end I decided that it would give all of my readers some insight into who I am and why I view how far I’ve come as a great achievement!
When I was in high school I was somewhat of a rebel. I did things that I knew where wrong, I made choices that I knew I shouldn’t make, and I did it all without thinking twice about any of it! When I look back at my teenage self I know why I did some of what I did, I had an overprotective mother who refused to let me out from under her wing long enough to make mistakes and my way of getting back at her was to rebel…hardcore! When I turned 18 and realized that by law my mother had very little, if anything to say about what I did and how I did it, I made a series of choices that would not only set in motion a chain of events that would shape my life then but who I am now!
A couple of months after I turned 18 I decided that I could no longer take my overprotective mother and what I felt where her very outrageous rules so I moved out! My best friend Amy and I moved into our own one bedroom apartment and for the first time in my life I had no one telling me what to do and when to do it. I can’t even begin to tell you how great that freedom felt, it was like I had been living in a padded room or a jail cell before and now I was out in the great big world and it was amazing! I maintained a job, though looking back I have no idea how, and life was going great, or so I thought. It was no secret that Amy and I partied a little too hard, or that we were less than mature in how we handled most situations, but we were young and free and the rules didn’t apply to us!
About a month after moving into my own place I made a decision that I will always regret making! It was the beginning of May 1997, less than a month before I was to graduate from high school. I hadn’t been going to school on a regular basis since I left my mother’s house, I had more important things to do! I decided one day on a whim that I wanted to go to school, as soon as I walked through the door I saw the principal who called me into his office without hesitation. I remember him sitting me down and telling me he was disappointed in me and at that moment I had a flashback of being in my mothers house being grounded for some insane reason and I just lost it. I asked him how I could go about signing myself out of school, he pointed me in the direction of the front office and I left…I didn’t withdraw from school (I figured he and everyone else knew that my leaving meant I was not coming back), I didn’t tell anyone goodbye, I didn’t even look back…I just left! I remember my mother being heartbroken over the whole thing and my less than mature 18 year old self could not understand, and to be perfectly honest, did not care what anyone thought about the choice that I had made!
Fast forward several months later and the newness of freedom had worn off, my less than carefree life had turned into a haven for trouble! I reluctantly moved back in with my mother when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter shortly after turning 19. One of the first decisions I made upon finding out I was going to be a mom was to get my GED, sure it wasn’t a high school diploma but it did mean that I finished what I had started, even if it was in a round about way. All I could think about was having my child grow up with a mom who didn’t finish high school, I couldn’t imagine having to tell my daughter that one day. So I took the GED and aced it…I was always smart I just never chose to apply myself!
Now 11 years later I look back and realize that of all the mistakes I made (and there were many) my choice to dropout of high school was the worst! For the longest time I toyed with the idea of enrolling in college, I always had a million reasons why I couldn’t possibly do it; I had two kids, I didn’t have time, it was too expensive, but when it came down to it those reasons where little more than excuses. When I finally made the decision to enroll I was almost 28 years old with two children, the decision to devote so much of my time to something other than my family was a hard one but it was one that HAD to be made.
Now almost three years later I’m one more semester away from a degree….a college degree, I can’t even begin to tell you how good those words look and how wonderful they sound! It hasn’t been easy, going through a two year divorce battle, moving out of the home I was certain I would grow old in, dealing with financial struggles that I never imagined I would have deal with, raising my two oldest daughters and then having two more babies in the span of 14 months, all of that happening after I enrolled in college. And though it has taken me longer than I expected to complete my degree I have never given up. Even when giving up would have been the easiest thing for me to do, even when I felt like a failure as a mother because my school work seemed to be taking more of my attention than I was giving my kids, even when I would sit at night and cry staring at the mountains of books and homework or thinking about how on earth I was going to repay all of my student loans, I didn’t give up…I couldn’t give up. All it took was one look at my children for me to realize that not only was I going to college for me, but for them…and that alone has been my driving force for the past two and a half years!
Moral of the story? If I can do it ANYONE can do it! It’s never, ever too late to make your life better or to do the right thing!